What are FAFSA and TASFA? Why are they important?
by Sam Petty
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a way for students to request financial aid from the federal government to pay for postsecondary education. To apply for most financial aid — including federal and state student grants, work-study, and loans — you’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
To be eligible for financial aid, you’ll need to:
- Have a high school diploma or a recognized equivalency, such as a GED, or have completed a state-approved home-school high school education.
- Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen with U.S. national status, or have a green card, an Arrival/Departure Record (I-94), battered immigrant-qualified alien status or a T visa or a parent with a T-1 visa.
- Have a valid Social Security number.
- Be registered with the Selective Service. This applies only if you’re a male between the ages of 18 and 25 and aren't already on active military duty.
- Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an eligible degree or certificate program.
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress in college if you’re already enrolled. Standards for satisfactory academic progress vary by school.
Although this financial aid form may seem complex, there are many free resources to help you fill out the FAFSA.
- Video: How to Fill Out the FAFSA
- Filling Out the FAFSA® Form
- Financial Aid 101 | How to Complete the FAFSA
Students who are not eligible for Federal Aid, but are residents of Texas are eligible for state aid and may submit a TASFA. You will not need to fill out both a FAFSA and a TASFA for the same school.
The Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA) is used to collect information to help determine eligibility for state financial aid programs that are administered by institutions of higher education in the state of Texas. Students that are classified as a Texas Resident who cannot apply for federal financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are encouraged to complete the TASFA. To be considered a Texas resident and to qualify for state aid, students must meet these requirements (in accordance with SB 1528):
- Reside in Texas 12 months prior to the enrollment in a higher education institution.
- Graduate from a Texas High School or obtain a GED in Texas.
- Have lived in Texas for 36 months prior to high school graduation.
- Sign an Affidavit of Intent to become a permanent resident. This must also be officially notarized.
The TASFA can be found at collegeforalltexans.com. The TASFA is free; it doesn’t cost anything to complete one!