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Completing the FAFSA

While it may seem overwhelming, the FAFSA is free and easier than ever, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid. The application opens each year on October 1, and the sooner you submit it, the more aid will be available to you. Each school and some states have their own priority deadlines as well.

Step One – Getting Ready

To complete the FAFSA, you will need:

  • An FSA ID – Your FSA ID allows you to log into your account, sign the FAFSA, and make changes or add schools. You and your parent must create separate FSA IDs. Create this first!
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
  • Your federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned.
    Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
  • Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
  • Records of untaxed income (if applicable)

If you are a dependent student, then you will also need most of the above information for your parent(s).

Step Two – Filling Out the FAFSA

Step Three – Review Your Student Aid Report

The Student Aid Report (SAR) is a summary of the FAFSA data you submitted. You will get your SAR within three days to three weeks after you submit the FAFSA form. Review your SAR carefully and make sure all of the information is complete and accurate.

The SAR will include your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC determines your eligibility for a Federal Pell Grant, and colleges use the EFC to assess your eligibility for other federal and nonfederal student aid.


The Federal Government selects a certain number of FAFSA applicants for a process called ‘verification‘.

For those students whose FAFSA is selected, the school is required to verify some or all of the information provided on the FAFSA. For continuing students, it is the Queens policy to complete the verification process before awarding a student any federal or state aid, or Queens need-based aid.

Find out what you need to do for the Queens verification process.

Step Four – Decide What Aid to Accept

You’ve been accepted to a university and you’ve completed the FAFSA, now you’ll receive your complete financial aid package. This will let you know how much you will pay out-of-pocket for college.

  1. Make sure you understand the aid that’s being offered. For instance, is it free money such as a grant or scholarship, or is it a loan that you’ll have to pay back?
  2. Choose the best financial aid to accept.
  3. Respond to the school’s aid offer within the deadline set by the school.

Need help deciding what do to? Here are some potential ways you can pay for the remaining costs.

Step Five – Learn How Your Aid Is Paid Out

If you were offered financial aid and you accepted it, the financial aid staff at Queens will explain exactly how and when your aid will be paid out. They’ll also tell you whether you need to fill out any more paperwork or meet other requirements. Be sure to keep in touch with the Office of Financial Aid so that you understand the whole process of receiving your aid.