Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) automatically allows you to be considered for federal, state and university financial aid programs. Filling out the FAFSA is free.
All students must apply or reapply for financial aid every year.
The FAFSA opens applications on October 1 for the following academic year. For example, if you’re starting college in Fall 2021, the earliest you can submit your FAFSA is October 1, 2020.
To be given the greatest consideration for financial aid programs, you should complete the FAFSA prior to December 1, which is the UCF priority date. Some programs are first-come, first-served, so be sure to apply early to avoid losing out on potential funding opportunities.
The FAFSA application takes less than an hour to complete for first-time filers. The FAFSA renewal process can be completed in 10 minutes.
About 24-48 hours after you submit your FAFSA application, you’ll receive what’s called a SAR (Student Aid Report) outlining different types of federal aid that you’re eligible for.
Learn more about starting the FAFSA.
Ready to begin the FAFSA?
Before you start, it’s important to gather some financial information. Make sure you have access to the following items for yourself and your parents:
Records of untaxed income and benefits
If you’re not ready to apply for federal student aid, but you’d like to estimate your aid, check out FAFSA4caster. The FAFSA4caster is an early eligibility estimator that can help you plan ahead when it comes to paying for college.
UCF School Code:
UCF’s Priority Date for FAFSA:
Early FAFSA or Prior-Prior Tax Year
Recent changes have been made to simplify the FAFSA, allowing some flexibility with the tax information that is required. Students and their families can report tax income information from an earlier tax year, rather than just the prior tax year.
This change allows students to report tax information from a prior-prior tax year (PPY), which means tax information from two years ago. It also allows students and their families to fill out the FAFSA form in a timely manner in order to have their financial aid packages before making college decisions.
Benefits of using prior-prior tax year info:
- File earlier. Students can file the FAFSA as early as October 1, instead of beginning on January 1.
- Be better aligned with the college application calendar.
- Receive financial aid information further in advance of college decision deadlines.
- Increase the ability to make well-informed college and financial aid decisions.
|When a student is attending college||When a student can submit a FAFSA||Which year’s income and tax information is required|
|July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020||Oct. 1, 2018 – June 30, 2020||2017|
|July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021||Oct. 1, 2019 – June 30, 2021||2018|
|July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022||Oct. 1, 2020 – June 30, 2022||2019|
|July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023||Oct. 1, 2021 – June 30, 2023||2020|
Marital status when completing the FAFSA
The FAFSA asks for marital status as of the day the FAFSA is filled out.
If married now but not in 2017 (and therefore didn’t file taxes as married), you will need to add your spouse’s income to your FAFSA. Similarly, if you filed your 2017 taxes as married but you’re no longer married when you fill out the FAFSA, you’ll need to subtract your spouse’s income.
FAFSA Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to file for Federal Student Aid every year? When are the deadlines?
Yes, you must apply each year. The priority date is December 1st each year. FAFSA applications are available starting in October for the upcoming year.
How do I file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
The FAFSA can be completed online. If you plan to apply for aid for the summer term, also complete the FAFSA for the current year. It is recommended that you do this by early November to meet UCF’s priority application date of December 1. UCF’s school code is 003954.
How do I receive the Student Aid Report (SAR) as a result of filing the FAFSA?
It will be sent to you via email if you completed the FAFSA online. If not, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED AID (1-800-433-3243).
A paper Student Aid Report will be mailed to your home address if you did not provide an email address.
There were problems with the FAFSA. How do I resolve them quickly by making any necessary corrections?
How will the Early FAFSA changes benefit students?
The FAFSA will ask for older income and tax information, students will already have completed taxes by the time of FAFSA filing (October 1st) and won’t need to estimate tax information.
Taxes are completed before FAFSA filing time (October 1st).
With the FAFSA available earlier, students may feel less pressure and have more time to explore and understand financial aid options then apply for aid before state and school deadlines.