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Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

  • Starting with the 2017­–18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), the following changes have been put in place: 

    • Students are now able to submit a FAFSA® earlier.  Students are able to file a 2020–21 FAFSA starting Oct. 1, 2019, rather than waiting until after Jan. 1, 2020. The earlier submission date is a permanent change enacted in 2017, enabling students to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as Oct. 1 every year. 

    • Students now report earlier income information. Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students are required to report income information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2020-2021 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) must report their 2018 income information, rather than their 2019 income information.  ​The easiest way to know what tax year used for your child's FAFSA is to start with the Fall of the year they will enter college.  Then you subtract 2 from that year and that is the year's tax returns to be used on the FAFSA.  For example, child A will graduate in May of 2022 and start college in the fall of 2022.  2022-2=2020.  2020 tax returns will need to be used to complete the FAFSA for the 2022-2023 school year.

    • Create an FSA ID for student and one for a parent at fsaid.ed.gov. (You'll use it to access the FAFSA - and as your signature.)

FAFSA Completion - Education Quest

  • To complete the FAFSA, follow these steps:
    1. Complete student and parent taxes early as you'll need that information for the FAFSA.
    2. Create an FSA ID for you and one for a parent at fsaid.ed.gov. (You'll use it to access the FAFSA - and as your signature.) Here's a helpful video.
    3. Gather items needed for the FAFSA. 
    4. Complete the FAFSA at FAFSA.gov before your college's priority date (typically March 1 or April 1). Ask your college for their priority date.

    For free help, use our FAFSA Tools, or make an appointment: 

    Omaha – 888.357.6300

    Lincoln – 800.303.3745

    Kearney – 800.666.3721


College Funding Estimator - from Education Quest

The College Funding Estimator estimates the results of your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Financial Aid). The FAFSA is the application for federal, state and college-based financial aid. You’ll complete and submit the FAFSA after January 1 of your senior year of high school – and every year that you’re in college.

The College Funding Estimator asks the same questions, and uses the same calculation, as the FAFSA. The results will help you plan financially for college, understand the financial aid process, and determine if you qualify to apply for “need-based” scholarships. This tool is helpful for parents with sophomores, juniors and seniors as they prepare for college expenses.

The following videos give parents and students more information on the Federal Financial Aid process.  All videos were created by EducationQuest.  To obtain more information, visit www.educationquest.org.

FAFSA Demo Videos - Find out how to complete the FAFSA

Understanding Your Award Letter


Understanding Your Student Loans