Who can get financial aid?

To get federal financial aid from the FAFSA you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program
  • Graduate and have a High School Diploma or GED
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress in college or career school
  • Go to FederalStudentAid.gov to learn more about eligibility criteria.
What can financial aid be used for?

Financial aid is money to supplement what you and your family can afford to pay for your education. It may be used for tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, meal plans, and other educational expenses.

How is financial aid determined?

The amount of aid you qualify for is calculated by subtracting your Student Aid Index (SAI) from the total Cost of Attendance (COA) including tuition, fees, housing, books, supplies, etc.

How long will it take to complete my FAFSA?

The application takes less than an hour to complete. Create your FSA-ID 3 days prior to starting the FAFSA. Students and contributors (parents or spouses) are required to have an FSA ID to complete and sign the form online.

What are the FAFSA deadlines and priority dates?

The Federal Deadlines for the 2024-2025 FAFSA is June 30th 2025. Any corrections must be submitted by Sept. 14, 2025. Schools may also have priority dates for submitting the FAFSA. Check with the financial aid office at the college or career school you plan to attend for their priority date, if applicable.

Because of the variation in college priority dates, it is highly recommended that you fill out the FAFSA as soon as you can to ensure that you do not miss out on available aid. E.g. Work-study programs may be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Federal Student Aid Handbook

This guide is intended for college financial aid adminstrators and counselors who help students with the financial aid process — completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA*) form, veryfing information, and making corrections and other changes to the information reported on the FAFSA form.

View Guide

FAFSA Completion by High School and Public School District

Code of Federal Regulations

How best to reach the college’s financial aid offices?
Most financial aid offices have walk-in hours from 8 am – 5 pm. You may visit the financial aid office and meet with someone without booking an appointment. You may also call the office during those same hours to ask questions or book an in-person appointment for offices without walk-in periods.

FAFSA Form Completion FAQ

What if my parent doesn’t have a Social Security number?
Starting with the 2024-25 FAFSA, parents who do not have an SSN will be able to create an FSA ID. The FSA ID created will allow the parent contributor with no SSN to log into your FAFSA form. If the parent contributor has an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), use it in place of the SSN on the FAFSA form only when prompted to enter ITIN. Do not use an ITIN number when creating an FSA ID.
If this process does not allow the FSA ID to be created, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243 for assistance.
View or download the Attestation & Validation of Identity Form – FORM
What if my last name doesn’t fit in the allowed space?

If your last name doesn’t fit in the allowed space, type in as much as you can and it will be accepted.

Do I need to register for the Selective Service?

You are not required to register for the Selective Service on the FAFSA to be eligible for federal financial aid. Registering for the selective service does not influence your financial aid. Information for males between the ages of 18 and 26 on when to register, go to https://www.sss.gov/ for more information.

Do parent contributors fill out the FAFSA separately for each student?

Beginning in the 2024-25 Award Year a parent contributor information can be automatically transferred into the FAFSA form. Providing consent and approval on the FAFSA from allows federal tax information to be automatically transferred into their student FAFSA. All participants must provide consent and approval even if they didn’t file a U.S. federal tax return or any tax return at all.

Can I use the same phone number and email address for my FSA ID?

All contributors must create their own FSA ID. You must use your own email and phone number to create an FSA ID.

Can I submit the FAFSA without my parent's information?

Completing the personal circumstances section of the FAFSA form will determine if you are considered a dependent or independent student. Parental information is required for dependent students. Unless otherwise noted, “parent” means your legal (biological and/or adoptive) parent. If you’re a dependent student, it doesn’t mean your parents are required to pay anything toward your education; this information is simply used to determine your maximum eligibility for federal student aid. To learn more about dependency status, go to: https://studentaid.gov/apply-for-aid/fafsa/filling-out/dependency


Use the “?” to the right of every question for guidance, or chat with a live FSA agent at: studentaid.gov/help-center/contact

FAFSA Estimator

For an estimate of federal aid, an estimator tool is available. Visit studentaid.gov/aid-estimator


Financial Aid Presentation Slides on the Basics of Financial Aid and the FAFSA

View Slides

Parent-Contributor Invite

On the FAFSA form you will send an invite to your contributor to allow them access to log in and fill out their portion of the form.

FAFSA Onboarding

As you complete the FAFSA form, there is a Q&A section with information that will help you through the process. The FAFSA form takes about an hour or less to complete.

Reseasrch Schools

Finding the right school is important. Spend time looking into what each school has to offer you. Consider the school size, location, and amount of financial aid. Visit: collegescorecard.ed.gov

Divorced Parents

Divorced Parents

If your parents are divorced, separated, or never married and don’t live together, the parent who provided more financial support during the last 12 months is the contributor and must provide their information. If both parents provided an exact equal amount of financial support or if they didn’t support you financially, the parent with the greater income or assets is the contributor and must provide their information. 


Your stepparent is considered a parent if they have adopted you. If your stepparent didn’t adopt you, they’ll be identified as a parent-spouse contributor on your FAFSA form. To learn more about parent information on the FAFSA, go to: https://studentaid.gov/apply-for-aid/fafsa/filling-out/parent-info

Who is my parent


If you need to report parent information, here are some guidelines to help you:
  • If your parents are married (not separated), both of your parents’ information must be included on the FAFSA form, regardless of whether your parents are of the same or opposite sex. If your parents didn’t file taxes jointly, then both of your parents are contributors. If your parents filed taxes jointly, only one parent is required to be a contributor and will report information for both parents.
  • If your parents are not married to each other and live together, both of your parents are contributors, and their information must be included on the FAFSA form, regardless of whether your parents are of the same or opposite sex.
  • If your parents are divorced, separated, or never married and don’t live together, the parent who provided more financial support during the last 12 months is the contributor and must provide their information. If both parents provided an exact equal amount of financial support or if they didn’t support you financially, the parent with the greater income and assets is the contributor and must provide their information.

For more information about which parent(s) to include on your FAFSA, go to: https://studentaid.gov/apply-for-aid/fafsa/filling-out/parent-info


Dependent vs. Independent Student Info

Am I Dependent or Independent?

The personal circumstances section of the FAFSA form will determine your dependency status based on how you answer the questions on the form. However, if you would like to review questions that determine your dependency status, go to https://studentaid.gov/apply-for-aid/fafsa/filling-out/dependency and answer the yes or no questions. On this page, it also provides detailed information about the differences between dependent and independent students.


Changing Your Status

If your personal circumstances change after you submit your form, contact your school’s financial aid office to ask if they have a policy that allows you to update your dependency status. The financial aid advisors will help you with this process and tell you what to do.

Undocumented Students & Parents

Students without a Social Security number

A student applying for federal financial aid must have a valid social security number to be eligible for federal aid. State aid is available for students attending a public college or university in New Mexico. Contact your prospective school financial aid office to learn more about what is available. Many colleges and universities also have support programs that help undocumented students find the resources they need to attend school.

Parents without a Social Security number

If you, as a student, have a valid social security number but your parents do not, you are still eligible for federal student aid. However, starting with the new 2024–2025 FAFSA form, parents with no SSN will also need an FSA ID to be able to log into your FAFSA form and complete their section of the form. Parents with no SSN should not use their Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) as a SSN when creating their FSA ID. On the FAFSA form, there will be a question for the ITIN. If the IRS has tax information for the ITIN used on the FAFSA form, it will automatically insert tax information. If it cannot, parents can manually enter information on the form.

Websites with helpful information
Here are some additional websites with helpful information:


Is Federal student aid just 'free money' like grants?

Federal student aid includes different kinds of financial help: low-interest loans that must be repaid, grants, and work-study funds (a part-time job on or near campus).

If my parents make too much money will I qualify for financial aid?

There is no income cut-off to qualify for federal student aid. Many factors, such as the size of your family, the cost of college you plan to attend, and your year in school, are considered. The only way to know your qualifications is to submit the FAFSA.

Do you need a good credit score to get a federal student loan?

You don’t need to get a credit check for most federal student loans (except for Direct PLUS Loans). Also, you usually won’t need a cosigner to get a federal student loan.

Do you have to have good grades to get financial aid?

While a high GPA will help a student get into a school and may help with academic scholarships, most federal student aid programs do not consider a student’s grades.

Are age or ethnicity taken into consideration for federal aid?

No, your age or ethnicity are not taken into consideration for federal financial aid.

If my parent's aren't USA citizens is there any way I can get financial aid?

Yes, your parents’ citizenship status is NOT a factor. If your parents don’t have Social Security numbers, they must enter 000-00-0000 and mail in the signature page.

Does the FAFSA form take a long time to finish?

If you get all of your documents and information ready beforehand, the FAFSA won’t take more than 30 minutes. See FAFSA Info Checklists

Do I need to apply to schools before I complete the FAFSA?

You can submit your FAFSA form before submitting any school applications. You’ll need to list at least one school on your FAFSA form, but try to add every school you’re considering. Some schools have early deadlines to apply for limited funds. You can add or delete schools on your FAFSA after you submit it.

Do I have to update my taxes on the FAFSA after I file in the spring?

The FAFSA uses prior years’ tax information. Learn more about tax deadlines and details on Prep for FAFSA. 

Do I have to fill out a new FAFSA every year I'm in school?

Yes! It’s super important to fill out a FAFSA form every year you are in school. Why? Because things can change. For instance, your school or state might create a new grant or scholarship, or the factors used to calculate your aid could change from one year to the next. Either way, if you don’t submit a new FAFSA form, you may not know.