For most of us, the student financial aid form we need is the FAFSA. But lots of you will also need forms for your state.
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You use this form to apply for all of the federal programs, like Pell grants, Stafford loans, Perkins loans, PLUS loans, and several other lesser known programs.
Here’s the link: FAFSA Online Form
I used the FAFSA to qualify for Pell grants, and for a few loans. The form is fairly long, and you will probably need your parents’ tax information for last year, but it was worth it for me to fill it out.
Let’s look at a few locations of financial aid forms for states in case your state has a separate form and separate programs.
Many states make this easy and use the FAFSA for all of their qualifications. Some don’t.
For the TAP program and other New York programs:
New York Student Financial Aid
The New York program is linked to the FAFSA student financial aid form, but lots of people miss the link. You can also fill out the forms separately.
By the way, the New York program is called TAP, tuition assistance program, and the program is handled by the Higher Education Services Corporation, or HESC for short. HESC is still part of NY state government.
The Florida state education office uses a separate form for the state program. You can find it here (use the student application link on the left):
Florida Financial Aid Form
You might notice that application deadlines apply for many of these programs. You have to submit your form on time, or you are locked out for the rest of the year. Not a happy thought.
By the way, you give yourself an advantage by getting your form done early. You can call this the ice cream truck effect.
Remember going to the ice cream truck when you were a kid? You’d ask for a Rocket Popsicle, and if you were the last kid to the truck, the friendly guy or girl in the truck would say, “Sorry, I’m out”. Then, you ask for a fudge-sicle, and once again, sorry, were out.
Now you are trying to think what else can you ask for, right?
The same is true of financial aid. Lots of people want the aid, so you need to fill out the student financial aid form as early as possible to give yourself the best chance of qualifying for the aid.