The financial aid filing season officially began at 1 a.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 1 with the launch of the 2018‒19 FAFSA® at fafsa.gov. Nearly 238,000 online applications were submitted the first day, representing an eight percent increase compared to one year ago.
Most students and parents are eligible to use the IRS DRT to electronically transfer their 2016 tax return information. The tool returned Oct. 1 for the 2018‒19 FAFSA with extra security and privacy protections to safeguard sensitive taxpayer data.
Each year, more than 20 million FAFSAs are submitted, resulting in more than $120 billion in federal grants, loans and work-study funds to help pay for college or career school.
“Our vision at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is that every eligible student in the nation completes the FAFSA,” said Dr. A. Wayne Johnson, chief operating officer of ED’s office of Federal Student Aid. “Filling out the FAFSA is free, and Federal Student Aid provides a wealth of resources to assist students and parents every step of the way.”
Students who plan to submit the FAFSA online should create an FSA ID as soon as possible at StudentAid.gov/fsaid. If a student is considered dependent for FAFSA purposes, one of the student’s parents also needs to create an FSA ID in order to sign the FAFSA online. Each person must create his or her own FSA ID to avoid issues and delays with the financial aid process.
Once the FAFSA is processed, the school will use the FAFSA information to calculate the amounts and types of financial aid the student may qualify for, and the school will send the student a financial aid offer. Financial aid offers come from schools, not the U.S. Department of Education, and each school has its own schedule for awarding financial aid. Students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible to take advantage of any early state and school financial aid deadlines.
StudentAid.gov, Federal Student Aid’s primary online portal for students and parents has information about completing the FAFSA, as well as frequently asked questions about the IRS DRT returning for the 2018-19 FAFSA.
Visit the FSA Data Center for information about the federal student aid portfolio, school data, lenders and guaranty agencies, and other business information.
To make a student loan payment or apply for an income-driven repayment plan, visit StudentLoans.gov.
Resources and information for financial aid professionals is available on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) online portal.
Resources and information for counselors, college access professionals, and mentors can be found on the Financial Aid Toolkit.