MONEY FOR COLLEGE

HOW TO FILL OUT THE FAFSA

Most federal and state financial aid programs require you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Filing the FAFSA is free! We’ve made it easy for you to gather the information you will need to complete the FAFSA. The FAFSA is an important part of your higher education journey and it might even mean free money to cover your college costs.

Need help with the FAFSA?

Check out our resources on this page.

Read our Three-Step Guide to learn how to create a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID, fill out the FAFSA, and review your Student Aid Report (SAR). 

Watch the Video Walk-throughs to view each step of completing a FAFSA.

Contact Us if you need additional help completing the FAFSA. Reach out to us via email or by calling 615-350-8668. We have staff standing by to help.  

Three-Step Guide to Completing the FAFSA

STEP 1. CREATE YOUR FSA ID (YOU AND YOUR PARENT)

Before you begin the FAFSA, you must create an FSA ID (username and password) with your personal information. Your FSA ID gives you access to the application and serves as your legal signature.

You’ll use your FSA ID every year you are in college to complete the FAFSA. Be sure to use your own email address to create your FSA ID. Your parent will use their own separate email address to create one as well.

To create an FSA ID, go to: fsaid.ed.gov

SUCCESS TIPS:

— Creating an FSA ID takes about fifteen minutes and should be done in advance of completing the  FAFSA form online.

— You will use your FSA ID throughout your college career, so be sure to correctly enter your information and use an email and phone number that will not change after you graduate high school.

STEP 2. FILING THE FAFSA (WITH YOUR PARENT)

After creating your FSA ID, the next step is to file your FAFSA! There are two ways that you can file your FAFSA:

1. Online at www.fafsa.gov

2. Through the myStudentAid Mobile App (download in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store).

SUCCESS TIPS:

— If you need help filing the FAFSA, contact your college/career counselor at your high school to find out when you and your family can get assistance completing the form. They will be an incredible support to you as you go through the process.

— When filing the FAFSA, questions often arise about dependency status, parental information, and citizenship status. For answers to those questions, visit studentaid.gov.

— Be sure that both you and your parent have created an FSA ID before beginning the FAFSA. See Step 1 if you need help creating an FSA ID.

— The FAFSA determines your eligibility for financial aid based on financial information from your parents/guardians. Colleges and Universities might also use your FAFSA information to offer you additional financial support.

— You will complete the FAFSA each year you are in college to receive financial aid from TN Promise, HOPE, the Federal Government, and your university. Be sure you remember your FSA ID and that you complete the form each year. 

STEP 3. REVIEW YOUR STUDENT AID REPORT (SAR)

The Student Aid Report (SAR) summarizes the information you submitted on your FAFSA and provides information about financial aid eligibility based on that information. 

After you submit your FAFSA online, you’ll get your personal SAR within three days via email. If you have an FSA ID and your FAFSA has been processed, you can log in at www.fafsa.gov to view your SAR information. The school(s) you list on your FAFSA will have access to your SAR data electronically within a day after it is processed.

The SAR won’t tell you how much financial aid you’ll get, but if your application is complete, an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will display in the upper right-hand corner of your SAR and your estimated  Pell Grant amount will be provided. The lower the EFC, the more likely you will earn Pell Grant dollars. If your application is incomplete, your SAR will not include an EFC or Pell amount, but it will tell you what you need to do to resolve any issues. 

SUCCESS TIPS:

— When you get your SAR, review it carefully to make sure it’s correct and complete. The school(s) you listed on your FAFSA will use SAR information to determine your eligibility for federal and state financial aid. A school may ask you to verify the accuracy of the data you provide on the FAFSA, a process called “verification”, so you need to be sure the information is correct.

— If your EFC is blank on your SAR or if there is a “C” after the number, you need to make corrections to your FAFSA. It is extremely important that you make these corrections to your FAFSA to receive financial aid. Your SAR will provide you with details about the errors in your FAFSA.

— If there is an asterisk (*) next to your EFC, this means that your FAFSA has been selected for verification. Being selected for verification is common and means that you will need to work with your college to complete a few extra steps to verify the information you provided on your FAFSA.

Video Walk-throughs

How to Create an FSA ID

How to Complete the FAFSA, Part 1

How to Complete the FAFSA, Part 2

How to Complete the FAFSA, Part 3

How to Complete the FAFSA, Part 4

How to Complete the FAFSA, Part 5

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