FAFSA: Five things to know

By Kristin Diekevers ’07, Associate Director of Admissions

What is the FAFSA and why is it so important?

The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is the primary application for receiving need-based aid at American colleges and universities. If you need help paying for college, submitting your FAFSA is the first step in applying for financial aid from most colleges and universities in the United States.

When do I submit my FAFSA?

The FAFSA is available annually beginning on October 1. It is to your advantage to complete the application early in order for colleges and universities to have the information they need to offer you an aid package sooner upon admission. Hope’s priority deadline is March 1 each year.

What information do I need for the FAFSA?

First, apply for a federal student aid ID number from the federal government. This is your username and password for federal student aid websites such as FAFSA.gov and studentloans.gov.

Second, gather your and your parents’ previous year’s tax information, social security numbers and your driver’s license. The FAFSA will ask for data from each of these sources.

Next, be sure to add Hope College’s school code to your FAFSA. Our code is 002273.

Where can I get help with my FAFSA?

There are many resources available to answer your questions and assist you with completing your FAFSA, including your high school guidance counselor, your Hope College Admissions representative and the Hope College Office of Financial Aid Office. FAFSA.gov also offers a free web chat tool.

What happens after I submit my FAFSA?

Processing your FAFSA takes time. Once the federal government has reviewed your information, they will send your data to the colleges and universities you requested. Those schools will then use your FAFSA data to prepare your financial aid package. In some cases, you may be required to submit additional documentation to verify the data on your FAFSA. This verification process is required by the U.S. Department of Education.

Financial aid notifications are typically sent to students in early February. More information about how financial aid is calculated is available on our Financial Aid website.

What else do I need to know?

Completing the FAFSA is free and quick, and you only have to do it once a year, so don’t be intimated! Feel free to contact the Hope College Office of Financial Aid with your questions. Their website is also a great resource for additional information about the FAFSA process.

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