A student needs financial and tax information for himself and those who contribute to his income, such as his parents or his spouse. The student's personal information, Social Security number, some form of identification, current grade point average, prospective colleges and address are also required.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is an application filed with the U.S. Department of Education for college-level financial aid. It is also used for most state-sponsored and college-sponsored financial aid that requires the same type of filing. Financial aid providers use the FAFSA to determine and estimate how much financial aid a student needs based on total household income, investments and savings. It also asks for information such as military status, ethnicity and family educational history.
The FAFSA application is over 100 questions long. In addition to financial background, it asks questions regarding the student's educational background and prospective colleges. This determines the amount a student would need for that specific school year and whether a student qualifies for specific grants provided at the federal, state or college level.
The student needs to file the FAFSA every year to redetermine eligibility for financial aid. It provides estimate and preapprovals for loans and grants.