What is a FAFSA?
The FAFSA, Free Application for Student Aid, is used to determine if you are eligible for federal, state, school or even private financial aid. By completing the FAFSA, you’re able to apply for federal and state grants, loans and work studies, as well as school and private scholarships. Basically, the FAFSA is your first step for receiving monetary assistance for your entire college career.
How do I file a FAFSA?
You can file your FAFSA online at fafsa.gov.
What materials do I need to complete my FAFSA application?
To make it easier on you and your guardian(s), be sure to have the following materials available when starting your FAFSA application:
- Social Security numbers for students and parents, or Registration Numbers for non-U.S. citizens
- Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID
- Driver’s license or other eligible government ID
- Tax returns for students and/or guardian
- Asset records, like bank statements and investments
- Records of untaxed income, like child support
What is a FSA ID?
The FSA ID is your electronic signature that allows you to “sign” forms like the FAFSA. Keep this ID in a safe place as you’ll need it to complete your FAFSA each year. You can create your FSAID here.
What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool helps ensure that your tax return information is entered correctly on your FAFSA. After completing a few yes/no questions about your tax returns, if you are eligible to use the Data Retrieval Tool a box will show up that says “Link to the IRS.” Click this button to access your tax information through the IRS website. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool can only be used for tax filers whose tax returns have been processed by the IRS.
What is CU’s school code?
Cumberland University school code is 003485.
Do I have to reapply for aid every year?
Yes, you need to file the FAFSA each year in order to remain eligible for financial aid.
What is the deadline for filing my FAFSA?
To meet the deadlines, you should submit the form as soon as possibly after January 1 of your senior year and no later than March 1. If there are no errors on your FAFSA submission, it will typically be processed in about four weeks. You can check the status of a submitted FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov. IF you apply for the FAFSA online, you could receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) in a matter of days.
Can I start to fill out the FAFSA online before receiving my income tax returns?
Yes, you can, and you should. You should start your FAFSA online as soon as possible after January 1. Do not wait until your taxes are done. Although it is better to do your taxes early, it is okay to use estimates of your income, so long as they aren’t very far off from the actual values. You will have an opportunity to correct any errors later. Please note that, in order to meet deadlines, tax returns may be prepared but not mailed until April 15. In this way, actual tax return information may then be used for completion of the FAFSA form.
If my parents are divorced, do both of my parents fill out the FAFSA?
No. The parent who is designated as the custodial parent is the one responsible for filling out the FAFSA. Typically, the custodial parent is the one who has lived with you the most over the last 12 months. As a reminder, income information is required on the FAFSA for any custodial step-parent.
What are the criteria for being declared an independent?
You can be considered independent for the 2019-2020 FAFSA year if you:
- Were born before January 1, 1986
- Are married
- Are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or you are currently serving on active duty
- Have children or others who receive more than half of their support from you
- Are an orphan or ward of the court (as of age 13)
- Have a legal, state-appointed guardian
- Are an emancipated minor
- Are an unaccompanied youth determined to be homeless or at risk of being homeless
If a student lives with a grandparent, but the grandparents do not have legal custody of him or her, can the grandparent(s) apply for financial aid on behalf of the child without the parent's income coming into play?
No, the parent or person who has legal custody of the student will be the person who is expected to contribute to the cost of the student’s college education.