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Student Financial Aid

FAFSA Tips

The FAFSA is available starting October 1. You may import federal tax income information on the FAFSA by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT).

UM School code: 002103

CAUTION! As the name Free Application for Federal Student Aid implies, applying for federal student aid is FREE. Be cautious of companies charging a fee, the fee is for their assistance filling out forms.

The FAFSA on the Web Worksheet provides a preview of the questions that you may be asked on FAFSA on the Web.

Completing your FAFSA


What is the FAFSA?

The FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a free application provided by the federal government. It is used to determine eligibility for federal, state and institutional aid such as grants, scholarships and loans.

The FAFSA website has many resources to help you complete the form correctly. The online application is significantly faster and more accurate than using the paper application.

When to complete the FAFSA

Prospective and currently enrolled students are strongly encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by January 1 to meet the financial aid priority deadline. You must reapply each year. Refer to the chart below for the earliest possible application date:

School Year FAFSA Available On Tax Year Information To Use
Fall 2017 through Summer 2018 October 1, 2016 2015
Fall 2018 through Summer 2019 October 1, 2017 2016
Fall 2019 through Summer 2020 October 1, 2018 2017
Fall 2020 through Summer 2021 October 1, 2019 2018

University of Maryland, College Park school code is 002103. The FAFSA will ask you for this code.

Eligibility to complete the FAFSA

To be eligible to complete the FAFSA and qualify for federal grants and loans, you must:

  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen,
  • be enrolled in an eligible program,
  • have a high school degree or GED,
  • be registered with Selective Service if you are male,
  • have a valid Social Security Number, and
  • not have been convicted of a drug offense while receiving financial aid

The FAFSA4caster can help you determine whether you are eligible to file the FAFSA and whether you are considered "dependent" or "independent" for financial aid purposes.