FAFSA FAQs

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the key to getting financial aid like grants, work-study, student loans, and some scholarships used to pay for college. Undergraduate and graduate students submit the FAFSA once a year to figure out what types of financial aid they may be able to receive. 

Complete the FAFSA by January 1 to meet the priority deadline. 

*Reminder: The University of Maryland, College Park school code is 002103.

Yes, you can fill out the FAFSA before you’ve submitted your college application to UMD. Our FAFSA federal school code is 002103. 

The UMD priority deadline for submitting the FAFSA is January 1. Many aid sources have limited funding so we encourage students to apply as early as October 1, when the FAFSA becomes available.

Filling out the FAFSA application tells the government and universities which financial aid awards you may qualify for. You are not guaranteed “free money” as in grants and scholarships. In some instances, your financial information may only qualify you for loans/work-study. Please read more about your options. 

  • If you are a dependent, you will need to use your parent's tax information. 
  • If you are an independent student you must use your income. 
  • If you are married, you must use your income combined with your spouse's income. 

A student's dependency status determines whose information they must report on their FAFSA. For details on how to determine your dependency status, please review the Federal Student Aid Dependency Infographic or visit studentaid.gov/dependency

 

You are an independent student if you meet at least one of the following:

  • 24 years of age or older
  • Married as of the date you apply 
  • Will be a graduate or professional student when the award year starts
  • Currently serving on active duty for purposes other than training 
  • A veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Have dependents other than a spouse 

Even if your parents choose not to help you with school, their financial information is used to determine how much they could pay and your financial aid eligibility is based upon this information.
 
If you have a severe situation please contact us to consult with a financial aid counselor.

You will be considered an independent student if you:

  • were an orphan, foster child, or ward/dependent of the court at any time since the age of 13.
  • were an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship or were when you reached the age of majority in your state.
  • were determined to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.

If you have a severe situation please contact us to consult with a financial aid counselor.

Students in this circumstance will fill out their FAFSA based on whether or not their parents live together. For more information please review the Who's My Parent When I Fill Out My FAFSA Infographic or visit the Federal Student Aid Parent Info page.

Yes, you can make corrections to your FAFSA. Please contact our office for further assistance at umfinaid@umd.edu.

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated from the information you reported on your FAFSA. Your EFC is a measure of your family's financial strength and indicates how much of your and your family's financial resources could be available to help pay for your education. It is a number used internally at the Department of Education. It does not reflect your cost of education. 

The amount you have to pay at any school may be different from your EFC because your EFC is the same at any school, this number is used for internal calculations by the government. Your cost of education is different at every institution because costs and available aid are different at every school.