Many students who receive federal aid wonder what the FAFSA renewal process is like and how often they must reapply. These questions should not detract you from filling out the FAFSA.
Understanding how to renew FAFSA is critical for students who have already received aid in the past and wish to receive more federal aid for an upcoming school year. However, the process for renewing FAFSA documents is different from the initial application in a few ways.
Similar to the initial application process, there is a FAFSA renewal deadline that must be met in order for students to be eligible to reapply. Renewing financial aid tends to be much simpler than the initial application, as the student will already have a verified Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. To learn more about the overall process of renewal as well as how to save time reapplying, continue reading below.
When a student submits a FAFSA form for a particular school year, he or she must submit a FAFSA renewal if federal aid is needed for a following academic year. A renewal of FAFSA must be submitted every school year in order for a student to be considered for financial assistance. However, FAFSA renewal requirements tend to be much simpler than the initial application, as applicants will likely not need to fill out a new application.
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The majority of a student’s initial application will carry over into the renewal process, including personal information and information that has remained unchanged through each academic year.
A student must fill out FAFSA renewal documents prior to the beginning of the school year in which he or she intends to receive aid. Only the student can submit a FAFSA renewal using his or her FSA ID. Dependent students who rely on parents or guardians for help can begin the renewal FAFSA and save it, in order for a parent to access the renewal later for their portion of the application. In order to reapply for FAFSA, a student must:
Students will also have the option to reapply for financial aid through his or her financial aid office as long as the school participates in the Electronic Data Exchange, or EDE. Students who are curious about reapplying in person should contact their financial aid office for more information. Students will also have the ability to submit a new FAFSA if they so choose. However, this will require much more information on the student’s part.
While the process for renewing FAFSA documents is much simpler than the initial application, students and parents may require a bit of assistance during the reapplication. All students are encouraged to give their renewal FAFSA form a save key before they start, which is a short temporary passcode that allows the form to be revisited by the student or additional family members. FAFSA documents must be signed electronically in order for the renewal to be submitted. Once a renewal form is signed and submitted to the school, the financial aid department of the chosen school will request any follow-up information or documentation that is required.
Similar to the initial application, students will need to be aware of FAFSA renewal deadline dates in order to ensure that their application for federal aid is submitted on time. The FAFSA renewal deadline will remain the same on a federal level. However, the date itself may change depending on the academic year. For example, the federal deadline for FAFSA online applications for the 2018-2019 school year is June 30, 2019, with corrections or updates needing to be submitted by September 14, 2019.
State deadlines and college deadlines will vary, so it is important for students to understand how each deadline may change depending on the state in which they live and the college they attend. For instance, each college may have a different deadline for FAFSA renewal, despite the federal deadline being set. Take the state of Florida as an example. Florida has a deadline of May 15, 2018 for the 2018-2019 school year for FAFSA processing. Students should check with their school as well as with the requirements outlined by state as to not miss out on federal aid deadlines.
The FAFSA renewal process for dependent students will differ from the process for independent students. The main difference is parental involvement in the FAFSA application. When a student is a dependent, this means that paying for his or her education is the responsibility of the parent or household. Students who are independent will be solely responsible for paying for their education. The reason why determining dependency is important to renew financial aid is because it will take a parent or family’s financial situation into account in order to make a determination regarding awarded aid. When a student is renewing FAFSA documents as a dependent, he or she will need to allow his or her parent or guardian the time to contribute any changes to income or assets that differ from the previous application year. Parents of dependent students will need their own FSA ID in order to sign and submit the renewal documents.
Students who are considered independent will be able to complete the FAFSA application renewal by themselves, without help from a parent or guardian. This means that students will only need their own FSA ID in order to sign and submit the renewal. Students who originally submitted a FAFSA application as a dependent but have since changed dependency status when it comes time to renew will be advised to submit a new FAFSA application. While this is more time consuming, the new FAFSA will be an accurate representation of a student’s eligibility for federal aid.
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