ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Step by Step Guide to Applying for Student Financial Aid

Updated on September 27, 2012
Federal Student Aid
Federal Student Aid

What is financial aid?

It provides financial help for eligible students to pay for educational expenses at an eligible school. There are three types of federal student aid. These include grants, work-study and loans. You'll need to check with your school to see which programs they participate in. Financial aid helps to pay for expenses such as tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies and transportation. I will show you the steps that you need to take in order to apply for student financial aid but first you must know...

Who is eligible to receive financial aid or federal student aid?

In or for students to receive federal student aid, they must

  • demonstrate financial need

  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible, legal alien

  • have a valid Social Security Number

  • be working towards a degree or certificate in an eligible program

  • show academic progress

  • register with the selective service if this is your first time(only males between the ages of 18 and 25 must register)

You must also show that you have qualified for your education. This means you'll need your GED or high school diploma.

How to apply for student financial aid? (or federal student aid)

  1. Get your PIN - The first thing you should do is get a Federal Student Aid PIN from This will allow you to sign your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) electronically. Keep this PIN safe at all times.

  2. Complete your FAFSA - The second thing you want to do is head on over to and fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the corresponding year. If you prefer a paper FAFSA, you can get one at and download the PDF. It is much faster to do this electronically.

  3. Required documents - You will need to collect all of the documents need to apply. This include income tax returns and W-2's. You may also need other records of income. A list of what you need will be provided on the FAFSA website above.

  4. Receive your SAR – After you complete your FAFSA, the U.S. Department of Education will send you your Student Aid Report (SAR) via email. Review your SAR and make any necessary corrections. If you made corrections, re-submit it. Your SAR should show your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This is the number used to determine how much you're eligible to receive.

  5. Be ready – The school that you plan to attend may require additional information from you. Be ready to provide this information accurately and on time. If not, you may not receive any financial aid.

  6. Verification – After you receive your SAR, you have to wait until your FAFSA is verified. This process is called “Verification”. Contact your school to see how long this process takes because it varies form school to school.

  7. Receive your award letter – Once your FAFSA has processed, you should receive an award letter stating that you have successfully completed the requirements and are eligible to receive federal student aid.

Note: Always stay in contact with your school's financial aid office for updates on your information and processing times. Don't be afraid to ask questions. It will be well worth it. I hope this helps you to better understand the necessary steps for applying for student financial aid.

I also recommend these great hubs to help you better understand your options:

Is Federal Student Aid Enough?

Student Loan - How to Finance College

Available Options for Student Loans in the United States


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • fresh2def05 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Louisville, Ky

      Good for you, summerrose. I wish you the best of luck and I hope this helps to ease the process.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the info.I'm about to go through this process soon!!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)