Financial Aid Support

Have a senior? Starting this school year, all students must submit a financial aid application to graduate. Every year, billions of financial aid dollars go unclaimed. And in Texas, students miss out on roughly $300 million in grants (free money) each year by simply not enrolling in college.

Texas’ new graduation requirement gives students an extra push to get these funds and pursue education or training after high school.

Families play an important role in the financial aid process. Not only do students benefit from motivation at home, but many students will need to report parental information on their application.

While applying for financial aid can seem confusing, we’ve gathered some tools and resources to help you through the process. Keep reading to find out how you can best support your student this school year.

To the Left is a PDF with a workbook going through FAFSA and has many helpful links.

Introduction to FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form you need to fill out to get any financial aid from the federal government to help pay for college. Each year, over 13 million students who file the FAFSA get more than $120 billion in grants, work-study, and low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Education.

Lots of states and colleges also use the FAFSA to determine which students get financial aid—and how much they’ll get.

The FAFSA asks for information about you and your family’s finances, including tax returns, so you’ll need your parents’ help to complete it.


  • Submitting the FAFSA is the most important thing you can do if you want financial aid.

  • The FAFSA is free—you don’t need to pay anyone to prepare it for you.

  • You need to submit a new FAFSA before each academic year in which you want to get aid. If you plan to apply for aid throughout college, you’ll need to fill out the FAFSA each year.

  • Be sure to use a permanent email address on the form, not your high school email, so you can use your FAFSA account throughout college.

  • Completing the FAFSA is one of six steps you need to take to qualify for a $40,000 College Board Opportunity Scholarship.

  • You qualify for a $1,000 College Board Opportunity Scholarship just by submitting your FAFSA.

Step 1: Create a FAFSA ID:

Whether you’re a student, parent, or borrower, you’ll need to create your own account to complete federal student aid tasks.

What You Can Use Your Account For

  • Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form

  • Signing your Master Promissory Note (MPN)

  • Applying for repayment plans

  • Completing loan counseling

  • Using the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Help Tool

Items Needed to Create an Account

  • Social Security number

  • Your own mobile phone number and/or email address

After getting a FAFSA ID follow the next 8 steps linked below:

Filling out the FAFSA

Anyone planning on going to college in the next academic year should fill out the FAFSA.

Here’s why:

  • Each year, millions—sometimes billions—of dollars in federal aid is left on the table by students who didn’t file a FAFSA. It’s simple: If you don’t file, you won’t qualify for most financial aid.

  • Your family doesn’t have to have a low income to qualify for assistance. Even if your family makes $200,000 a year, you could be eligible for aid.

  • You automatically qualify for a low-interest federal loan when you submit a FAFSA. These loans are less expensive to pay back than many private student loans.

  • Many work-study programs require the FAFSA.

  • Some merit-based scholarships require the FAFSA to help them determine scholarship amounts.

How to Fill Out the FAFSA

There are three ways to complete and submit your FAFSA:

We recommend filling out the FAFSA online or through the app. Both options offer useful tips to help you understand the questions, which can make it a lot easier to fill out and submit the application.

When you fill out the FAFSA electronically, you’ll be asked to create a federal student aid ID (FSA ID). You’ll use it to sign the electronic form. Because one of your parents also has to sign off on your FAFSA, they’ll need to create an FSA ID, too.

Filling out FAFSA as the Parent:

Parents completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form for the first time can follow eight simple steps to help their children obtain federal student aid. These steps include creating your FSA ID (account username and password) ahead of time, filling out the demographics section, and listing financial information correctly.

After all, students who are considered dependent must provide parental information on the FAFSA form and have a parent sign the form. While we recommend that the student start his or her own FAFSA form, we know that isn’t how it always happens. Follow these instructions if you are starting the FAFSA form on behalf of your child to avoid running into issues completing the form.