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Category : Academics

The FAFSA Process – What Parents and Seniors Need to Know

Friday , October 01 , 2021

Senior year is exhilarating and deadline-driven. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is one deadline you don't want to miss if you're considering enrolling in a college or university for the fall of 2022. Students will access grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and federal student loans by completing the FAFSA process.

"FAFSA is one of the most important steps students and their families can take to pay for college as most students receive some type of financial aid. The U.S. Department of Education uses the FAFSA to determine your eligibility for federal student aid, including low-cost loans, grants, and work-study. The FAFSA may determine your eligibility for state and school aid as well. Anyone who plans to attend college should submit the FAFSA, so apply even if you don't think you qualify as you don't want to leave free money behind," said Mary Harris, PVSchools lead counselor.

Here's what parents and students need to know about FAFSA:

  • If you need assistance throughout the process, text Help to the Benji Chatbot at 602-786-8171. Benji is specifically designed to help parents, students, and educators get quick answers to a wide variety of FAFSA questions.
  • When you complete the FAFSA, colleges use the information to see if you are eligible for all types of financial aid. There is no income cutoff to qualify for federal student aid. All eligible students qualify for some financial aid, whether grants, work-study, loans, or scholarships.
  • FAFSA is free, and you can file it online at The FAFSA application process should only take about 30 minutes to complete.
  • You will use prior-prior year financial information. For example, for the 2021-2022 FAFSA, you will use a completed 2019 income tax filing. For the 2022-2023 FAFSA, you will use a completed 2020 income tax filing.
  • FAFSA becomes available on October 1 and is open until June 30. Don't wait for these deadlines because most states are now giving out money on a first-come-first-serve basis. This means if you wait too long, you will miss out on thousands of dollars in financial aid.
  • Arizona Universities Priority Dates:
    • November 15, 2021 – Northern Arizona University
    • January 15, 2022 – Arizona State University
    • March 1, 2022 – University of Arizona
  • You will use your FSA ID to log into FAFSA. Creating an FSA ID will take up to three days to process, so don't wait until the last minute. If you are a dependent student, your legal parent will need to create an FSA ID.

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View the 12th-grade FAFSA Checklist. Learn more about FAFSA.