Paying for College

Completing the FAFSA

Your financial need is calculated based on information you and your parents report on a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) about your family's income and assets. All colleges require the FAFSA to determine your level of need and eligibility for several major state and federal aid programs.

Applying online at www.fafsa.gov is the best way to file a FAFSA. You are less likely to make errors because your answers are edited automatically. Another bonus is you will receive your financial aid report up to two weeks faster than if you file a paper FAFSA. A paper FAFSA is available by calling the U.S. Department of Education toll free 1.800.433.3243. Students may get up to three copies of the paper FAFSA.

The best source of information about student financial aid you may qualify for is the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend. Check with a financial aid officer to make sure you've completed all required applications and be sure to meet the school's deadlines.

Don't rule out a school because you think you can't afford it. Depending on financial aid packages offered to you, it's possible for you to pay the same amount to attend a more expensive college as you'd pay to go to a less expensive school. Get up-to-date cost information directly from the school you plan to attend.