Getting Started with the FAFSA

Whether or not you plan to use federal (government) funds to help you cover higher education costs, it’s important that you fill out the FAFSA each year throughout your college studies. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, typically referred to as the FAFSA, is the first step in determining not only how much federal financial assistance you are eligible to receive, including grants and loans, but also your eligibility for state and institutional need-based awards. Even if you don’t plan to take out loans and/or won’t qualify for need-based government grants, you may find that you are eligible for other types of financial assistance by filling out the FAFSA.

Why Do I Need an FSA ID?

Before you can fill out the FAFSA for the first time, both you and your parents must apply online for an FSA ID, which will be used to electronically sign your FAFSA. Learn more about creating an FSA ID by viewing the video below. (Video source: U.S. Department of Education.)

Before Beginning Your Application

Below are some important tips to keep in mind before you begin filling out your FAFSA.

Filing Early

Financial aid funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, meaning you will want to file your FAFSA as early as possible each year in order to be eligible for the top award amount. You can complete the FAFSA at any time after October 1 of the calendar year prior to the Fall that you plan to start classes.

Early FAFSA Info

FAFSA Verification

Once you’ve filed your FAFSA, you may be randomly selected for a process called verification. We have established a partnership with Inceptia to expedite the federal verification process by utilizing the Verification Gateway (VG) online portal, which will help you get through this process quickly if you are selected.

Verification Info

Filling out the FAFSA

Once you’ve established your FSA ID and gathered your or your parents’ financial information (tax data) for the previous year, you are ready to complete the FAFSA. Learn more about the FAFSA by viewing the video below.

Connect with Us

If you have any additional questions or need help while completing the FAFSA, don’t hesitate to reach out to our student financial services team. We’re ready to assist you!

Phone: 800.500.8760 (toll free), 863.667.5018
Email: sfs@seu.edu
Hours: Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.