Getting started with FAFSA: The 5 things you need to know

What is FAFSA, anyway? Well, FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and it is a standard financial aid application used by US citizens and permanent residents in the United States to apply for financial aid from the US federal and state governments, and the information in the application is also used by colleges and universities to compute need-based awards. So, what do you need to know about FAFSA?

  1. International students are NOT eligible for US Government aid programs.
  2. If you are a non-US citizen or permanent resident you may still be eligible for the Federal Student Aid program if they have refugee status, conditional permanent residence (Form I-551C), a T-visa, or are a battered immigrant-qualified alien (as defined in the Violence Against Women Act “VAWA”).
  3. Some US colleges and universities require international students to file a FAFSA in order to apply for the institution’s financial aid programs.
  4. International students without a Social Security Number (SSN) can file a FAFSA by mailing the physical application to the FSA. Once the FSA confirms the FAFSA has been received, the student must ask the school’s Financial Aid office to request the FSA for the application to be released.

The information in the FAFSA application will be used by the school’s Financial Aid office to determine the student’s eligibility for scholarships, loans, grants, and any other form of financial aid.