Colorado FAFSA Applications
The Colorado FAFSA application plays a critical role in every student’s pursuit of financial aid to support his or her higher education goals. Learning when and how to submit FAFSA application materials is the first step students need to take in pursuing almost any form of financial aid at federal, state or local levels. Most educational funding sources directly or indirectly base decisions on students’ FAFSA results, so it is essential that applicants complete their FAFSAs carefully and submit their applications on time each academic year. There is no single deadline for submission of a FAFSA application. States, institutions and private funders often maintain their own deadlines separate from the federal cutoff date. Students must abide by all applicable dates to be eligible for financial aid at the state or local level. To help students understand how to apply for FAFSA funding successfully, most institutions provide trained staff and other supports to enrolled prospective students seeking to access, complete or submit a FAFSA application.
Accessing FAFSA Applications in Colorado
Students wondering, “How do I fill out the FAFSA form in Colorado?” need to begin by familiarizing themselves with the funding application cycle. Colorado FAFSA applications become available when the application cycle opens in October each year. Applications are available online or in hard copy. To use the online application, students and their families must set up personally identifying FSA IDs, which they can use to access, submit and track their applications. Basic personal information is required to request an FSA ID. An application for federal student aid does not have to be completed and submitted all at once. As soon as they have been opened, applications can be accessed and amended repeatedly before they are tendered. Applicants will need to gather the documents needed during the FAFSA application process in order to be prepared to answer the application’s questions.
Completing FAFSA Applications in Colorado
Before beginning a Colorado FAFSA application, applicants must determine whether they qualify as dependent or independent students under federal guidelines. This is an important distinction when applying for financial assistance, as independent students only need to submit only their personal and financial information on the application while dependent students are required to provide personal and financial information on themselves and their legal parents or guardians. To submit FAFSA applications as independent students, applicants must:
- Meet specified age, employment or family conditions.
- Hold certain legal designations.
- Be enrolled in certain qualifying higher education programs.
Dependent students must carefully review the instructions for how to fill out the FAFSA form’s sections on parental information and incomes, particularly if their parents are divorced or remarried. Although the U.S. Department of Education does not discriminate on the basis of parental gender, marital status and living arrangements, it does employ strict regulations in regards to which parent(s) qualify as legal or financial support for an applicant and what types of information relative to that parent(s) must be submitted. Find out more about information required for FAFSA applications by downloading our detailed financial assistance guide.
Students and their parents may access an open Colorado FAFSA application as many times as necessary to enter, verify and/or correct all requested information. Applicants who need assistance with completing the FAFSA application can access help through various sources online, over the phone or in person through the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid office or from the institutions they are attending or to which they are applying.
Students and families planning to apply for FAFSA awards can request estimates of the amount of financial aid they are likely to qualify for before beginning an application. By submitting only the basic personal and financial information, students can view an approximate projection of the federal financial aid awards for which they will qualify, along with the maximum amount of money they will be eligible to borrow in federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans. In addition to providing information about anticipated federal student aid types and amounts, the tool will also supply estimates related to Expected Family Contributions and other college enrollment costs.
Submitting Colorado FAFSA Applications
FAFSA applications in Colorado are subject to multiple due dates. Which due date applies to a particular student depends on factors including the higher education institution where the student is enrolled and the program that he or she is studying. Students must submit FAFSA applications by the applicable deadlines to qualify for assistance at federal, state and local levels for the academic year for which they are seeking funding. The financial aid office at a student’s institution can provide additional information on the due dates with which he or she will need to comply.
Generally, students applying for FAFSA aid are advised not to wait until they are required by a deadline to submit their applications. Federal, state and institutional financial aid programs are supplied by finite funding pools. Scholarships and awards are granted to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Once all available resources have been allocated, additional applicants cannot be awarded funding. Submitting an application for federal student aid early in the funding cycle increases a student’s likelihood of receiving the full amount of aid for which they qualify. Later applicants may find that they qualify for more aid than remains in the financial aid funding pools and receive reduced awards due to a lack of available funds.
Students submitting FAFSA applications online may do so at any time using their FSA ID. Students submitting a hard copy of their FAFSA are advised to keep a duplicate when mailing in the original. All applicants will receive a response from the Federal Student Aid office indicating what funding they are eligible to receive and providing instructions on what steps to take moving forward. Download our in-depth guide for more details about financial assistance in Colorado.