FAFSA: An Important First Step In Applying For Financial Aid

If you’re looking to apply for financial aid for any of the programs at West Coast University, the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the place to start.

The FAFSA is the form you need to fill out to receive financial aid, including federal and state grants and loans, to help pay for higher education.

Every year, more than 13 million students who file the FAFSA are offered grants, work-study and low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Education. And individual states provide financial assistance as well.

Even if you believe you make too much money to qualify for federal assistance, it’s important to complete the FAFSA to ensure you’ve maximized all options for funding. Don’t merely assume you won’t qualify. Submitting a FAFSA does not commit you to accepting any type of award.  It simply provides information to help determine what types of financial aid you may be eligible to receive.

Basic facts about the FAFSA application

  • Anyone who plans to apply for financial assistance needs to complete the FAFSA. The application requires you to provide information about your and your family’s finances, including tax information.
  • As its name implies, the FAFSA is free. Never pay anyone to help you complete it. Your school’s Financial Aid Office can assist you at no cost. The Department of Education also offers a toll-free call center (1-800-4-FEDAID) as well as a chat function for questions that is open during regular business hours.
  • You must complete the FAFSA each year beginning in October in order to continue to receive financial aid.

How to complete the FAFSA

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is a secure way to populate your income data for the respective year to your FAFSA application. Optimizing the IRS Data Retrieval Tool will not only expedite your completion of the FAFSA but will also ensure overall adjusted gross income (AGI) accuracy. It also limits the need to supply additional information to the Financial Aid Office.

Before you complete the FAFSA electronically, you’ll be asked to create a federal student aid ID (FSA ID), which is what you’ll use to sign the electronic form. One of your parents may also need to create an FSA ID to be able to sign off on your application unless you’re considered independent based on certain guidelines in the FAFSA.  Create your FSA ID here.

Be sure to use a permanent email address on the form so you can use the same FAFSA account throughout your college experience.

If you are thinking of attending West Coast University, be sure to list WCU’s school code in the “school section” of the application so that we have access to your eligibility data.  WCU’s school code is 036983.

How FAFSA funding is calculated

Every academic year your FAFSA results are assessed to determine opportunities to assist with funding your tuition/fees. Early FAFSA completion streamlines your packaging process while providing up to date information on eligibility and awards.

FAFSA due date

It’s a good idea to submit your application as early as possible because financial aid is often given out on a first-come, first-served basis. You’ll want to give yourself the best chance of getting the most assistance.

You can file as early as October 1 for the following academic year(s) and the final deadline is June 30.

You may also qualify for state grant funding from California or Florida if you’re a resident of either of these states.  However, states have alternate deadlines for calculating grant eligibility so it’s best not to delay in submitting the FAFSA if you’re looking to exhaust all opportunities for financial assistance.

FAFSA Fast Facts

While WCU cannot guarantee financial aid, we encourage all students to apply for federal assistance.

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.