Ultimate Guide to FAFSA: How to Get FAFSA for International Students?  Image
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Ultimate Guide to FAFSA: How to Get FAFSA for International Students?

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Yocket Editorial Team
11 mins read
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FAFSA is a form that becomes paramount if you are a student planning to attend college or a parent looking for ways to accumulate your child’s university fees. Whether or not you are from the US, the FAFSA application plays a crucial role while planning to study in US. 

But How? FAFSA not only provides the US students and their families with federal aid for grants, scholarships, student loans, or work-study but also helps determine the eligibility of university/school/state scholarships for the international students. Most of the FAFSA student aid is distributed on the first-come, first-served rule. Therefore, without any delay, let’s explore this FAFSA guide to have an in-depth understanding.

  Table of Contents:

  1. What is a FAFSA Scholarship? 
  2. What is FAFSA Eligibility Criteria? 
  3. How to Apply for FAFSA Scholarship?
  4. What Are the Benefits of a FAFSA Scholarship?
  5. Frequently Asked Questions on FAFSA

What is a FAFSA Scholarship? 

FAFSA is a form that is required by all the undergraduate and graduate schools to grant federal student aid. Every year, the US Department of Education keeps 150 billion USD to provide financial assistance. Students can use this amount to submit their tuition fees, pay the room charges, and purchase books/other vital supplies. Financial student aid mainly includes: 

Financial Aid Name

Types

Grants 

Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

Loan

Subsidized Loans, Unsubsidized Loans, Direct Plus Loan, Federal Perkins Loan

Work-Study

Part-time employment, Full-time employment

Scholarships

Merit-based, Financial Need Based

FAFSA student loans act as an amazing future investment compared to private student loans. They offer lower/fixed interest rates and flexible repayment options. However, the maximum FAFSA scholarship amount depends on the applied course and university. 

What is the Deadline for Submitting a FAFSA? 

Universities in USA have different deadlines for FAFSA for Indian/international students. You can ask the college authorities if the last submission date is when the FAFSA form gets processed or when the college receives the data. Connect with them to get the appropriate information. However, the general guidelines include:

Academic Year

First Submission

Submission After Correction

Central Time (CT)

2021-2022

June 30, 2022

September 10, 2022

11:59 PM

2022-2023

June 30, 2023

September 10, 2023

11:59 PM

Now, the question comes if there is an eligibility criterion or a standard process to apply for the FAFSA application. Of course, let’s walk through it!

What is FAFSA Eligibility Criteria? 

The basic FAFSA eligibility requirements include: 

  • A need for financial aid to study in US (for a majority of the programs).
  • Availability of US citizenship.
  • An appropriate and working Social Security Number (SSN). 
  • Enrollment or acceptance of enrollment as a regular student for a degree or certificate program. 
  • Maintaining gratifying academic performance throughout the course.
  • Eligibility for the direct loan fund program (at least half-time during the course).
  • Signature on the certification statement given in the FAFSA form stating no previous defaults on the federal student loan, no liability of money against a federal student grant, and use of the aid amount for education purposes only.
  • Availability of US eligible non-citizenship. The non-citizen US 
  • students can have access to the federal aid if they are a  U.S. national native of American Samoa or Swains Island, U.S. permanent resident, an individual who has an Arrival-Departure Record from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services showing one of the following designations: Refugee, Asylum Granted, Cuban-Haitian Entrant, Conditional Entrant, Victims of human trafficking, T-visa, or Parolee. 
  • Lastly, the FAFSA for international students (from India and other countries) with no SSN need to be printed and mailed to the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to obtain an ID. Upon confirmation, they can call the desired school/university to get the application released to them. 

How to Apply for FAFSA Scholarship?

We want the application submission process to be easier for you; therefore, let’s understand how the FAFSA scholarship works. 

1. Begin Planning at an Early Stage

Start saving for college by considering the prepaid tuition and education savings plan. To get support from the FAFSA scholarship, you can connect with school counsellors and the financial aid office.

  • Select the college/university you want to enrol in. 
  • Get an intensive understanding of various FAFSA grants and scholarships.

2. How to Fill the FAFSA Form?

Renowned colleges like Princeton University, Rice University, Stanford University, and others determine your federal aid eligibility through the FAFSA form. In fact, in case of the international students, many universities use this information to offer their scholarships. You can focus on these steps to apply for financial aid. 

  • You can use the official FAFSA online portal or mobile application. 
  • You can do thorough research about the Federal Work-Study Jobs.
  • Have an understanding of the available financial student loans. 
  • After the form submission, you will get a student aid report (SAR). Re-check the information you have shared in this report by logging into the FAFSA online portal and selecting “View SAR” from the “My FAFSA” page. 

Let’s have a look at the SAR collection method. 

Types

With Email Address

Without Email Address

Types of SAR Received

Email linked to SAR information online

Paper SAR acknowledgement

When SAR arrives (at the latest)

If FAFSA form is signed with the FSA ID(s): 3-5 days

If signature page used: 2 weeks

If FAFSA form is signed with the FSA ID(s): 7-10 days

If signature page used: 2 weeks

  • How to Review the Aid Offer?

The aid offer includes the type of scholarships, grants, and the amount that a school/college/university offers you. Additionally, this report also includes your expected cost for the year. Here, if you get accepted by multiple colleges, we advise you to…

  • Compare the various financial aid offers (as they may vary later based on your final accommodation decision and other factors.)
  • Accept the financial aid in the following order: Free money > Earned Money > Borrowed Money. 
  • Ask for clear statements of the college tuition and fees.
  • After lowering the college costs and checking multiple college scorecards, your final decision should be made. 
  • Get Your Financial Aid, Graduate, and Start Repayment

Kudos! Now is the time to begin your student journey. The financial aid office will offer finance against the amount you owe to the college/school authorities and deposit the rest in your bank for other study expenses. However, it is crucial to maintain the FAFSA GPA requirements (no lower than 2.0) and renew the FAFSA form for continuous financial support.

Once you graduate, prepare to repay loans by managing and exploring repayment plans. Besides, you can also seek temporary relief as the federal student loan borrowers are given a six-month grace period before they get capable of making payments. 

Covid-19 Relief on FAFSA Default Loans

  • Tax refunds (and child tax credits) will not be withheld.
  • Wages will not be garnished.
  • Social Security payments (including disability benefits) will not be withheld.
  • Collection calls and billing statements will not be sent out.
  • Interest will not accrue (add up).

Suggested: Complete guide on how to apply for FAFSA in 2022

What Are the Benefits of a FAFSA Scholarship?

The advantages that FAFSA offers are endless. And to experience them, one does not need to have certain FAFSA income limits. Let’s have a look at a few.

  • There is no age limit for the FAFSA scholarship. As the federal student aid is provided to applicants based on their needs. 
  • FAFSA is not merely for the students who only achieve exceptional college grades. However, one is expected to pass the class as per scholarship score guidelines. As some federal student aid programs demand more scores than others. 
  • It eases the expense comparison among different colleges/schools. 
  • This application will help you get a head start on the scholarship search.
  • It also helps study abroad students to attain scholarships successfully. 
  • Unlike loans from financial institutions, FAFSA does not demand a credit history. 
  • It does not ask for a co-signer signature from a family member or a friend. 
  • It offers income-driven payment options, i.e. pay as you earn. 
  • It usually takes a default loan period of 3 months to take action against the defaulter. 

FAFSA for Indian students might not help get a grant or scholarship, but worry not! Have a look at this guide featuring various scholarships for international students to study abroad

Now, you must be acquainted with a FAFSA scholarship. But if you still have any doubts, book a free consultation with Yocket’s Counsellors

Frequently Asked Questions on FAFSA

Ques. Is FAFSA parent information required? 

Ans. FAFSA form includes a series of questions to determine if you are a dependent or independent student. However, if you are dependent, it further asks for parent information. 

Ques. What should I do if I miss the FAFSA guideline? 

Ans. Don’t worry! If you miss the FAFSA guideline, connect with the financial aid offices. Some colleges and states award federal aid even to the latecomers. 

Ques. Can I use the IRS data retrieval tool for filling in the necessary tax-related information in the FAFSA form? 

Ans. Yes, for the academic year 2021-2022, FAFSA offers the IRS data retrieval tool on their website. With this tool, students and parent can directly import their tax data into the FAFSA form. 

Ques. Can I edit the FAFSA application after final submission? 

Ans. Yes, you can change your FAFSA form by logging into your account and clicking on “Make FAFSA Correction.” However, if you have entered an incorrect Social Security Number, connect with the financial aid office. 

Ques. Should I fill out FAFSA even if the probability of qualifying is less? 

Ans. Yes, it is better to fill out FAFSA in all circumstances. As most international colleges/universities rely on FAFSA to award scholarships. It can also protect you from unforeseen circumstances like losing a parent’s job and others.

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