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Applying for Aid: FAFSA

What: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
When: As soon as possible on or after January 1 each year
Why: To determine your family’s expected contribution to your college costs and your eligibility for need-based financial assistance
How: www.fafsa.gov; North Park’s federal school code is 001735

For students from the United States, North Park University does not require a financial aid application other than the FAFSA and an application for admission. International students are asked to provide additional financial details as part of their application process.

The FAFSA helps North Park determine your eligibility for federal, state, and/or institutional aid like grants and loans for undergraduate and graduate programs. In fact, nearly every college and university in the country also uses this same form and information; you can send your data to every school you apply to as you’re making your college decision. If you’re a returning student, you’ll file a FAFSA each spring so that you continue to be eligible for any loans or grants that are a part of your financial aid package.

What You Need

Before you fill out a FAFSA, you’ll need to get a few things in order:

  1. Gather tax information for you and your parents (if you’re a dependent student). For the 2015–2016 academic year, you’ll need tax information from 2014, and it is helpful to have your actual tax forms with you as you are filling out the FAFSA. Find out who counts as your parent when you file your FAFSA.
  2. Apply for a PIN number at www.pin.ed.gov. Students and parents must apply for separate PINs, which allow you to electronically sign your FAFSA when you submit it. Your parent needs to sign if they are claiming you as a dependent on their tax forms. (If you or your parents already have a PIN number from a previous FAFSA, you can continue to use it. Recover a lost PIN.)

When to File

It is in your best interest to file the FAFSA as soon as you are able. The form for the next academic year is available after January 1 of each calendar year. (For example, the 2015–2016 FAFSA is available January 1, 2015.) While you do need you and your parents’ tax information in order to file the form, you can use estimated tax numbers to file it if there is a delay in getting exact numbers.

For undergraduate students from Illinois who may qualify for the Illinois MAP grant, filing the FAFSA before February 1 is critical in order to be considered for available funds from this program.

After filing, you will be able to review your information through the FAFSA website, and you can make corrections to your information online if you need to (such as if you used estimated tax information). As long as North Park is listed on your FAFSA, we will receive your updates electronically.

The FAFSA will generate a figure called an “EFC,” which stands for “estimated family contribution.” The EFC measures your family’s financial strength and is used by the Financial Aid Office to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. The EFC generated by the FAFSA does not guarantee that you will only pay that amount for college.

Undergraduate Transfer Students

Financial aid packages are unique to each school. Be sure to add North Park University to your FAFSA online using our federal school code (001735) so that we receive your FAFSA report and can generate an accurate financial aid package for you.

Verification

About one-third of all students are selected by the federal government for FAFSA verification. If you’re selected, you will need to send copies of tax forms and some other paperwork to North Park. We will let you know if you are selected for verification for any school year.

apply for FAFSA