UPDATED 2021: The Importance of Your FAFSA Application

How to Apply for Student Aid

To apply for college student aid, complete your FAFSA application as soon as possible. Experts recommend submitting applications as early as possible in order to qualify for the most aid possible. However, the most important factor is accuracy. An extra digit can make your tuition much more difficult to cover. Thankfully, the electronic application provides ample information and opportunity for review.

For the best results, collect all the information about your family’s income and assets before the FAFSA application opens October 1st of each year.

Federal Student Aid provides free help online at fafsa.gov or you can call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

TTY users (hearing impaired) can call  1-800-730-8913.

Information to Collect

You will need the following for yourself and each parent or guardian:

  • Social Security Number or Alien Registration Number
  • Federal income tax returns
  • W2’s
  • Bank statements
  • Records of Investments

If you have trouble finding your income and tax information, try using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool .  

Reporting Parental Income

In most cases, undergraduate students under the age of 24 must include their parents’ or guardians’ income in their FAFSA application. You do not have to report your parents’ income if you are married, a veteran, or have a legal dependent.

If none of these criteria apply to you and you are not receiving financial assistance from a parent or legal guardian, you may request a waiver from a financial aid administrator at the university you are applying for. See how to attain a dependency override.

Understanding Your SAR

After your FAFSA application has been reviewed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) which summarizes your household information. Check for errors and look for your EFC, or Expected Family Contribution, in the top-right corner. Schools use the EFC to determine your federal student aid eligibility and financial aid award.

If your EFC is less than $5,846 per year, and you may qualify for a Pell Grant.  Federal Pell Grants are grants from the U.S. Department of Education for low-income students. Unlike a loan, a Federal Pell Grant does not need to be repaid. The Department of Education pays participating schools the Federal Pell Grant amounts for all its eligible students. The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $6,495 for the 2021-2022 award year.

Trinity Education Foundation Scholarships

Applications open December 1.

We provide scholarship awardees a tangible community of support through mentoring, connection to purpose, and financial assistance. Our scholarships are renewable (based on your college status) and help you not only pay for college, but reduce your overall debt upon graduation. Learn more about the scholarships we offer here.