FAFSA 101

What is the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is a U.S. Department of Education form that your family will fill out to help determine how much financial aid a college or university can offer you. The application uses information you provide about your family’s income and assets – usually taken from your tax return – to determine your Expected Family Contribution, or EFC.

The Department of Education sends your EFC to any college or university you select on the application. Each college or university will then use your EFC to create a financial aid package just for you, including scholarships, grants, work-study positions (if you qualify), and student and parent loans. These financial aid packages are tailored to you and will be different for each college, as they’re based on your EFC and that college or university’s unique circumstances.

Why is the FAFSA important?

The FAFSA is the only way to qualify for federal student aid, and your EFC helps determine what aid Drake can offer you. Since we want you to get the best financial aid package you can, we highly encourage you to fill out the FAFSA.

When should I fill out the FAFSA?

The FAFSA application opens on January 1 of your senior year of high school. Drake's priority deadline for completing the application is March 1. Some financial aid is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so the March 1 deadline is important.

Before January 1, we recommend you and your parent(s) apply for your PIN, an identification number used to file the FAFSA, borrow student loans, and access all your federal finanial aid information online.

When you’re ready to get started, our Office of Student Financial Planning is ready with their guide to filling out the FAFSA.

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