Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Applying for financial aid almost always begins with completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When students submit the FAFSA, they are applying for federal financial aid including grants, work-study funding, and loans.

The U.S. Federal Department of Education uses the information students, parents of students, and/or spouses of students provide on the FAFSA to determine the students' eligibility for federal financial aid. Many states, including Kansas, also use the FAFSA to determine your eligibility for state financial aid programs.

As the name implies, the FAFSA is free! There are no fees to process the FAFSA.

Since this electronic process uses built-in edits, the number of potential errors in completing a FAFSA is greatly reduced. Students and parents of students need to create an FSA ID and password with the U.S. Department of Education in order to apply online. 

The results of a student's FAFSA are electronically sent to Kansas State University when our Federal School Code of 001928 is included on the FAFSA.

The K-State priority date to complete and submit the FAFSA is March 1 prior to the following academic year. For example, if a student plans to attend K-State during the 2015-2016 academic year (Fall 2015, Spring 2016, or Summer 2016) he or she should complete the FAFSA by Sunday, March 1, 2015 to meet the OSFA FAFSA priority date.

Complete and submit the FAFSA


Questions about the FAFSA

Why does K-State have a FAFSA priority date?


Due to limited funding for certain aid programs, the OSFA encourages all individuals to apply by March 1 prior to the start of a new academic year. (For example, Sunday, March 1, 2015 is the priority date for the 2015-2016 academic year that starts in August of 2015.) Filing your FAFSA after the priority date will, however, not affect your eligibility considerations for certain federal aid programs such as Federal Pell Grant or Federal Direct Student Loans. Even in instances where a student and/or family have not yet filed their federal taxes, the OSFA encourages individuals to apply by the March 1 priority date. In such instances the student and his/her parent may be obligated to update their FAFSA after federal taxes have been filed – but the priority date will have been successfully locked in with the initial ‘estimated tax’ application.

Why do I need a Federal PIN to file a FAFSA?


You, and at least one parent if you are a dependent, will need a personal identification number to electronically sign your FAFSA. Your financial aid PIN is just like the PIN you get from your bank. It is confidential and should not be shared with anyone, even if someone else completes your FAFSA for you. Students and parents of dependent students are encouraged to apply for a PIN if they have not already done so.

My parent(s) have more than one student in college. Is a separate parent PIN needed for each student?


Your parent can use the same PIN to sign multiple electronic FAFSA applications. A separate FAFSA must, however, be filed for each student in the household.

Can students and/or parents estimate tax information on the FAFSA if they have not yet filed their federal taxes before the K-State FAFSA priority date?


Yes, you, and if applicable, your parents, can provide estimated federal tax data if federal taxes have not yet been filed in order to meet K-State’s March 1 FAFSA Priority filing date. However, you will be obligated to make a correction to your original FAFSA information once federal taxes have been filed. Except for very limited circumstances, the OSFA recommends that federal tax filers utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Process embedded within the FAFSA for accuracy and convenience.

Do all students need to report parent information on the FAFSA?


The FAFSA contains a series of questions which will determine if you are considered to be a “dependent” student for financial aid purposes. The OSFA encourages you to carefully review this series of questions when completing the FAFSA on-line. If it is determined that you are considered to be a dependent student, the FAFSA application will indicate that a parental section will need to be completed by your parent before the application can be successfully submitted.

I just received my Student Aid Report (SAR). What do I do with it?


This report is sent to you by the federal government. It summarizes the data you reported on your FAFSA and displays your EFC. Carefully review your SAR for accuracy. If you find that you need to make corrections, you can do so by logging back into your online FAFSA, making the needed corrections, and re-submitting the application.

What does EFC stand for?


EFC stands for Expected Family Contribution. The federal processor calculates this index number based on the information you provide on your FAFSA. The EFC will be displayed on your Student Aid Report (SAR). The EFC allows financial aid professionals to determine a student’s financial need. To determine need the EFC is subtracted from a student’s Cost of Attendance.