What is FAFSA
Acronyms are everywhere. From BAs to MFAs and PhDs, plenty of acronyms are associated with college, but the one that gets the most attention among prospective students is FAFSA.
So, what is FAFSA? And why is it so important? FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. If you want to attend college with the help of student financial aid such as federal grants, loans and work-study jobs, you’ll first need to complete the FAFSA so the government and UCF can determine which financial aid programs you qualify for. You can use your financial aid to pay for college expenses like tuition, housing, textbooks and school supplies.
Who should submit a FAFSA?
Every prospective student is encouraged to fill out the FAFSA — even online students. At UCF, online classes provide the same high-quality degree as on-campus classes, and online students are eligible for the same federal student aid programs as those who attend class on campus. Completing the FAFSA can provide important financial aid options if you’d like to attend UCF, regardless of whether you are taking classes in-person or online.
Applying to FAFSA
Interested in earning a degree from UCF Online? You’ll want to submit your FAFSA application after applying to UCF, but before being accepted. Visit fafsa.gov to create a new application or continue an existing one. Are you a dependent student? If so, you’re required to use your parent or legal guardian’s information. If you’re an independent student, you will use your own financial information to apply for the FAFSA.
To qualify for the 2019–2020 award year, we highly recommend you submit your application by the priority deadline on Dec. 1. Many federal student aid programs have a limited amount of funds to disperse, so the earlier you submit your FAFSA, the better your odds are for receiving certain funds.
Now that you know how important the FAFSA is, you might be wondering “What do I need to complete my FAFSA?” Make it easy to complete the FAFSA by having all the necessary documents ready and available to help confirm your identity and financial status.
Here are the documents you and/or your parent/guardian will need to complete the application:
- Social Security number
- Federal income tax returns, W-2 form, and any other record of money you earn
- Bank statements and records of investments
- Records of untaxed income
- An FSA ID to sign electronically
Note: If you are a dependent student, meaning you are financially dependent on your parent or guardian, you will also need the above documents for them.
Once you’ve completed and submitted your FAFSA application, you’ll have to wait three to five business days for it to be processed. Once processed, UCF will determine your financial need and notify you of your award package.
Help with FAFSA
If you have questions or need help filling out your FAFSA at any point during the application process, UCF’s Office of Student Financial Assistance can help. Please call or email using their contact page. Our team can also assist you with questions on applying for aid, receiving aid, types of aid, forms that you may need to submit, general information and contact information if you need any further help with the financial aid process.
New Year, New FAFSA
How long does the FAFSA last? You will need to fill out and submit a new FAFSA every year you are enrolled at UCF. Applications become available every year on Oct. 1. Make a plan to fill out the application soon after it’s available so you have access to more student aid programs. It’s highly recommended that you submit the FAFSA by the priority deadline of Dec. 1.
More Financial Aid Opportunities
UCF offers a wide range of resources to help you find financial aid and scholarship opportunities from the university and outside organizations. Be sure to check out the UCF Office of Student Financial Assistance’s scholarship page for more information.