What does FAFSA stand for? (Quick tips and info)3 min read

As a college student, there are times you will need financial support for the continuation of your education when things start getting rough. If you consider applying for student financial aid, then you need to know about FAFSA or what FAFSA stands for.

What does FAFSA stand for?

FAFSA stands for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is a platform that helps in ascertaining the eligibility of college students in applying for government-sponsored financial aid.

FAFSA is most common in the United States, whereby an undergraduate or graduate completes a form before a deadline, to know if he/she (student) is qualified to get a student financial aid.

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How does FAFSA work?

A college student who needs financial support has to complete the FAFSA form every year. This form is at the educational website of the US department; www.fafsa.ed.gov. The form must be completed before the given deadline.

The FAFSA form serves as a way to ascertain how much financial support a student deserves including the non-need-based and the need base. 

FAFSA asks some questions about the parents’ income, and assets, also with other factors like the number of children in the family and that of the students.

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This results in EFC (Expected Family Contribution) knowing how much the family should be able to pay for the cost of college with their resources.

The three types of Financial aid a student might be eligible for after completing the FAFSA application includes:

  • The money earned through working.
  • Free money
  • Money to be repaid.

Who is eligible for a FAFSA loan?

Apart from the question, “What does FAFSA stand for?“, college students worry about their eligibility on FAFSA. Most of the general eligibility requirements to qualify for FAFSA includes:

  • The student must be a US citizen or an eligible non-citizen.
  • Must have financial need.
  • Should have a high school diploma.
  • Must be enrolled in a certificate program or eligible degree at a career or college school.
  • Must have a Social Security Number(SSN).
  • A maintained Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

On the other hand, the type of aid you are applying for has its own specific requirements.

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How to fill out the FAFSA application:

FAFSA contains a series of questions and takes a great deal of work to be filled, especially if you are doing it for the first time.

The questions include; basic information for the identification of the students and their parents, for example; their names, Social Security numbers, address, date of birth, etc to a thorough examination of their finances. 

Also, students and their parents should provide information on their assets and income which includes investments, real estate, bank accounts, and any other businesses of their own.

Finally, students and parents both have their own FAFSA accounts and each must be completed.

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What does FAFSA stand for?


Whatever information you supplied on the FAFSA will determine if you are qualified for non-need-based, need-based, or probably the two together.

Need-based Federal Student Aid programs include:

  • Federal Pen Grant,
  • Direct Subsided Loan,
  • Federal Work-Study,
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).

Non-Need Based Federal Student Aid Programs include:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan,
  • Federal Plus Loan,
  • Teacher Education Access for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant.

Note that FAFSA is not the same as a CSS profile.

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