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
The only financial aid application required for students from the United States is the FAFSA; this, along with your admission application, will provide the details necessary to build your financial aid package. 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. In fact, nearly every college and university in the country also uses this same form and information; using the FAFSA website you can send your data to multiple schools. 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 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:
- Gather tax information for you and your parents (if you’re a dependent student). For the 2016–2017 academic year, you’ll need tax information from 2015, 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.
- Apply for a FSA ID at fsaid.ed.gov. Students and parents must apply for separate FSA IDs, 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 link your PIN information by using that PIN when applying for an FSA ID. The FSA ID replaces the previous FAFSA PIN. Learn more.)
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 October 1 of each calendar year. (For example, the 2017–18 FAFSA is a available October 1, 2016.) 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.
Graduate students who do not need the option of student loans to pay for their advanced degree do not need to complete a FAFSA. (For example, if your continuing education qualifies for an employer-reimbursement program that will cover your full costs.) However, if your circumstances change from year to year, you can file a FAFSA even after you’ve started your program to have the option of loans in subsequent years.
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.