What to know about filling out a FAFSA application

FAFSA applications are free to fill out and open opportunities for Pell grants and subsidized loans to students.
Written by: Tehreem Khan
Media contact: Savannah Koplon

Stream FafsaFAFSA applications are free to fill out and open opportunities for Pell grants and subsidized loans to students. For many high school and undergraduate students, it is paramount to think about financial aid and scholarship opportunities for the upcoming academic year. If you are uninformed about resources and processes, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid — known as FAFSA — may seem like a daunting and time-consuming task. But knowing your eligibility, staying organized and preparing in advance can make the process easier.

Learn more about how to fill out FAFSA applications with help from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Scholarships Office.  

Check whether you are eligible

All U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to fill out the 2023-24 FAFSA application. To be an eligible non-citizen, you need to have a green card, an Arrival/Departure Record known as I-94, battered immigrant-qualified alien status, a T visa, or a parent with a T-1 visa.

Offenses such as incarceration, misdemeanors, arrests and involvement with serious crimes can affect a student’s aid. Smaller offenses can limit the programs students qualify for, and larger offenses can completely disqualify a student.

Gather these documents

To complete the FAFSA, the most important documents you will need are your Social Security number, your Alien Registration number if you are not a U.S. citizen, the record of your federal income tax returns, and the W-2s of your parents and yourself. The application will also ask you for the record of other money sources such as veteran benefits, child support, food stamps and savings.

When you fill out the application, make sure you have a list of colleges you plan to go to and their codes.

Comply with these deadlines

The cycle of the FAFSA application for the 2023-24 academic year began Oct. 1, 2022. The deadline to submit is June 30, 2024. However, it is important to note that each college has its deadline. Check with the colleges you are interested in attending to ensure timely and accurate submissions.

Note that some funds are limited, so apply as early as possible. The priority deadline for UAB is Dec. 1, 2022.

Follow these tips

  • Before filling out the application, create a FAFSA ID. If you are considered a dependent student, your parents will need a FAFSA ID as well.
  • Use the IRS data retrieval tool, which allows tax filers to import IRS data directly into the FAFSA application, making the process faster and more secure.
  • Make sure you read the definitions of terms that you do not understand and answer questions accordingly.
  • Report the family size correctly. Family size includes you, your parents, your parents’ other children and any other people who live with your parents.
  • Make sure you enter your information in the student section and your parents’ in the parent section.
  • Make sure you sign your FAFSA and receive a submission receipt.
  • Once you submit your FAFSA, you will receive your results via your Student Aid Report. Make sure the report is accurate and complete.

Important notes for UAB applicants

Learn more about being a Blazer here.

To ensure sending your FAFSA to UAB, you will need the code 001052.

It is important that you verify that your FAFSA was received by UAB. Once you submit, the Financial Aid Office will receive and process your FAFSA beginning in November or within three to five business days of completing your FAFSA and sending your information to UAB. Verify receipt of your FAFSA on the My Financial Aid tab of BlazerNET. Other helpful verification resources and information can be found on the FAFSA Verification page.

Now that you are aware of eligibility, requirements and deadlines, apply now at https://studentaid.gov/.