Students: Don't Miss Out on Crucial Financial Aid Dollars

NASFAA Resources Can Help Demystify the Process of Applying for Student Financial Aid

September 30, 2019 — As temperatures drop and the leaves start to change colors, we're heading into a new season. Yes, fall is upon us, and it's also the start of a new financial aid cycle. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, for the 2020-21 academic year will become available to students and families on Tuesday, October 1 and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) has resources to help applicants complete the form without issues.

NASFAA encourages students to complete the FAFSA online or via the myStudentAid mobile app, rather than submitting a paper FAFSA, as the electronic versions utilize skip-logic that prevents students from having to answer questions it's clear don't apply to them based on their previous answers. There is no hard deadline to submit the FAFSA, but because many states and colleges use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for non-federal student aid funds that may have limited funding, the sooner a student submits the FAFSA, the more aid they could be eligible for.

However, rushing through the application isn't recommended, as data-entry mistakes can slow down the process. Students can cut down on errors by using the Internal Revenue Service's online Data Retrieval Tool to import their financial information directly from their tax returns into the FAFSA, rather than entering it manually. They can also reduce errors by referring to NASFAA's recently updated checklist of what students should have on-hand in order to file their FAFSA and list of common FAFSA errors to avoid.

“Millions of dollars in student aid funds get left on the table every year because qualified students fail to complete their application,” said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. “We know the process can be confusing, but we urge you not to let unasked questions or an unsubmitted application be the obstacle that stands between you and obtaining the funds to pursue a higher education. Financial aid administrators on college campuses all over the country stand ready to help current and prospective students navigate the process of applying for student aid.”

To request an interview with a NASFAA spokesperson about what students and parents should know before filing the FAFSA, please email [email protected] or call (202) 785-6959.


The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 28,000 financial aid professionals at nearly 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every ten undergraduates in the United States. Based in Washington, D.C., NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit

Publication Date: 9/30/2019

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