How to Apply for Financial Aid

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2022-2023 academic year opens on Oct. 1. When a student files the FAFSA, they may become eligible for scholarships or grants (based on need and merit), work-study programs or low-interest loans.

Some states have deadlines for when students need to complete FAFSA forms, so make sure that you know what the deadlines are for the state you reside in. Susan Garrison, student hiring coordinator and director of financial aid, said that some of the most beneficial financial aid funds are first-come, first-served. Students are twice as likely to receive financial help for college if they file the FAFSA early.

Students need to create a FSA ID online at StudentAid.gov if they have not done so already to fill out the FAFSA form. To create an account, students need their Social Security number and an email address. A mobile phone number is optional for the FSA ID, but is strongly recommended as it makes it easier to reset your password. Students will enter a username and password, as well as answering questions to prove your identity. Make sure to write down this information somewhere because you’ll need it again and it can be tough to reset the FSA ID if you forget it. Applicants use the same FSA ID each year. They need to change the password once every 18 months, but the username would remain the same.

The FAFSA form is on the myStudentAid app, available at the App Store or on Google Play, or you can visit fafsa.ed.gov to apply for financial aid for college or graduate school.

Students can also be starting to look for scholarship opportunities and other forms of financial aid separate from the FAFSA. Garrison says that almost all students qualify for some type of financial aid such as a loan or a grant, and you may qualify for financial aid even if you don’t think that you should. Even if you don’t qualify for financial aid right now, your financial situation may change, so it is still beneficial to create a FAFSA ID and do any other steps ahead of time. The FAFSA can help you determine if your state is giving scholarships and grants to students. The FAFSA also offers federal work study opportunities, in which students can work and make money while attending school.

West Liberty University student Kelsey Stewart says that last year she was surprised by how much money she qualified for, and she plans on filling out her FAFSA form early this October in hopes that she will get as much help as possible in paying for her education.

For more information, contact Susan Garrison or the financial aid office. Visit the FAFSA website to apply for financial aid sooner rather than later. You can also go to studentaid.gov or westliberty.edu/financial-aid for help with financial aid.