FAFSA filing opens nationwide


Staff Reports

Hoosier students and families are encouraged to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is now open for the 2021-22 school year.

With more than $350 million in state financial aid available and billions of dollars in federal aid, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education reminds Hoosiers that filing the FAFSA by April 15, 2021, is imperative for securing money for college.

Filing the FAFSA is required for many of the state’s scholarship and grant opportunities, such as the 21st Century Scholarship and Frank O’Bannon Grant, and many colleges require a completed FAFSA to award merit and need-based scholarships.

Students earning a variety of degree types, including short-term certificates, associate and bachelor’s degrees and higher, should file the FAFSA to take advantage of available financial aid.

“We encourage all Hoosiers with an interest in pursuing education and training to file the FAFSA because we know that paying for college is one of the most common barriers to attending,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “We also know that recent unemployment data show Hoosiers without education beyond high school are more likely to be unemployed, so the value of pursuing higher education has never been greater.”

The commission recently released the 2020 College Equity Report, which includes data on Indiana’s college achievement gap progress and the workforce and shows poverty has a direct impact on college-going rates, as only 38% of low-income high school graduates go to college, lower than the statewide average (61%), higher-income peers (68%) and low-income peers who are part of the state’s 21st Century Scholars program (86%).

“Many Hoosiers fail to file the FAFSA by the deadline because they assume they don’t qualify for any state or federal financial aid. The reality is that there is considerable funding available, especially for those that demonstrate financial need,” Lubbers said. “Filing the FAFSA on time is a surefire way to be considered for both state and federal aid opportunities, but you’d be surprised at how much aid is left on the table each year.”

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How to file the FAFSA

Students can file the FAFSA online at FAFSA.gov. The first step for students who have not previously filed the FAFSA is to create a Federal Student Aid identification.

Each student will need:

  • Social Security number
  • Alien Registration number (for non-U.S. citizens)
  • Federal income tax returns, W-2s and other records of money earned
  • Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
  • Records of untaxed income (if applicable)

The U.S. Department of Education provides email and live chat assistance for FAFSA filers as well as a helpline at 800-4FED-AID. Hoosier families also can find FAFSA help through INvestEd Indiana at investedindiana.org.


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