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The FAFSA is your first step in financial aid
If you are planning to attend college during the 2024-2025 school year, the FAFSA is the key to financial aid. Whether you are a new student or returning student, attending a trade school or four year university, the FAFSA is for you.
Reminder – the FAFSA is for US Citizens and permanent residents. If you are not a US citizen or permanent resident, you should not complete the FAFSA. Contact the financial aid office at your institution to see how you should apply for financial aid.
You will probably need at least one of your parents to contribute information to your FAFSA. If you aren’t sure which parent should provide information, check out this chart from Federal Student Aid.
Step 1: Create a FSA ID
Before you can file the FAFSA, you will need to create a Federal Student ID. Your FSA ID is the username and password you will use to access all Federal Student Aid websites, including StudentAid.gov, which is home to the FAFSA form. Before you can start your FAFSA, your FSA ID must be verified by the Social Security Administration, which can take a few days – so create your FSA ID early!
- Use an e-mail address you check regularly, NOT a school address you may not always have access to.
- Keep your username and password in a safe place on your phone and computer, so you can easily access it in the future
- Verify your account with both an email address and phone number.
- Both the student and at least one parent will need to create an FSA ID.
Step 2: Gather your information
The FAFSA will open in December, but you can take steps now to gather the information you will need to complete it. Here is what you may need:
- Student FSA ID and password
- Student Social Security number (or alien registration number if you are an eligible non-citizen)
- List of colleges you are applying to
- 2022 federal tax return
- Current asset information (total of cash, savings, checking accounts; net worth of businesses and investments)
- Amount of annual child support received
- If dependent student (most students are): Parent’s date of birth, Social Security number or ITIN, marital status, date parent was married, divorced, or widowed, parent email address
- If applicable, spouse or partner’s Social Security number, date of birth, and email address
Step 3: Complete the FAFSA
Complete the FAFSA as soon as you can once it opens. Both you and your parent will need to contribute information to the FAFSA, so make sure they are completing it early too! Many colleges and state programs have different priority filing deadlines. While it won’t make you ineligible if you miss a priority filing deadline, the funding in many programs is offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so file as early as possible. Missouri’s priority deadline for need-based aid is February 1. You can still receive aid if you complete the FAFSA by April 1, but the amount may depend on the number of applications received.
- Use your FSA ID to login to the FAFSA at StudentAid.gov. Be careful to avoid sites that offer to complete the FAFSA for a fee. They are not affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education.
- If you have questions, start with the chat bot at StudentAid.gov or call Federal Student Aid at (800) 433-3243.
- If you need more help, contact your school counselor or college financial aid office. We’ll share regional FAFSA completion events and resources as they become available; sign up for email updates.
- If you are applying to college for the first time for the 2024-25 school year, you are considered a first-year freshman.
- If you are currently enrolled, transferring, or re-enrolling, you can use your same FSA ID. You will notice the FAFSA form has substantially changed this year. You and your parent will need to complete your sections separately, and the calculation of how much aid you might receive has changed. For an update on what has changed, click here.
Looking for help to complete your FAFSA? Find a FAFSA Frenzy event near you by clicking here.
Step 4: Review your FAFSA application
Review your FAFSA for accuracy and make any corrections necessary before you hit submit. Confirm that your parent has completed their section. After the last contributor completes their section, your FAFSA will be complete. You should receive a confirmation e-mail that your FAFSA form has been received. If not, login and double check that it was submitted.
Step 5: After you file
It could take several days to weeks to process your FAFSA. The end result of your FAFSA is a report called the FAFSA Submission Summary. This will have your Student Aid Index. The SAI tells you how much federal aid you can expect to receive and what you may be expected to pay towards your education. This does not include any aid you may receive from the state of Missouri, your college, or through private scholarships and loans. Your college or university should notify you when your financial aid offer is available. Timelines will vary by school. You may need to login to your college portal to retrieve your financial aid offer letter.
Reminder: The FAFSA must be completed each year you are in school to qualify for financial aid.
Upcoming FSA ID Creation Events
Hosted by the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development
|Kansas City Public Library, 201 E. 75th St, Kansas City MO||December 5 4-7 pm|
|Park Hills Job Center, 403 Parkway Drive Suite A, Park Hills MO||December 5 4-6 pm|
|Sedalia Job Center, 515 S. Kentucky Ave, Sedalia MO||December 5 5-7 pm|
|Joplin Job Center, 730 S. Wall Ave, Joplin MO||December 5 5-7 pm|
Links & Resources
Federal Student Aid
The FAFSA is a form of Federal Student Aid of the U.S. Department of Education. This site links to the FAFSA and provides the best information on how to complete it. Start here.
Journey to College
Missouri’s Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development has a website with planning tips and resources for college-bound students. Journey to College holds FAFSA Frenzy events around the state to help students complete the FAFSA.
National nonprofit organization uAspire has easy to follow checklists and tools for students with questions about the FAFSA and financial aid, including short videos on each step of the FAFSA process.
Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis
The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis provides free workshops and in-person clinics (by appointment only) to help students and families navigate the financial aid process. This will include FAFSA specific workshops this year.
My Scholarship Central
My Scholarship Central is a free platform connecting Missouri students to over 170 scholarships and interest-free loan programs. Complete a general application and the system will identify scholarships for which you are eligible. Students were awarded more than $15 million last year.
Missouri Student Financial Aid Portal
Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development’s Journey to College program has a Student Financial Aid Portal where students can login to find out how much state financial aid they qualify for.