Before you head off to college, make sure to apply for financial aid to help you pay for school expenses. Each year, you are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA® to determine if you are eligible for any Federal aid.

Not sure where to start? Here’s what to expect when you apply.

What is the application process?

To apply for financial aid, these are the steps:

  1. Get prepared: Gather the necessary documents required to complete the application.
  2. Complete the FAFSA® form: Make sure to apply early.
  3. Review Student Aid Report: After submitting your form, you’ll receive a report to review for any corrections.
  4. Respond to aid offer: Accept the financial aid you need to cover expenses.
  5. Receive aid: Get your financial aid from the school you’re attending.
  6. Renew your FAFSA® form: Be sure to reapply before the start of each new school year.

What should I know before filling out the FAFSA®?

Here are some things you need to know to help you complete your Federal financial aid:

  • Create an FSA ID: Create an account username and password for your application. The FSA ID is a digital signature. Be sure to create your account early. According to, it can take up to three days to activate your ID.
  • Social Security number: You will need your Social Security number to complete the application. If your parents are applying for you, they will need theirs as well.
  • Your driver’s license number: You’ll enter your driver’s license on the form.
  • Your Federal income tax return: You will report your most current tax return information. For instance, on the 2022-2023 FAFSA® form, you’ll be required to submit your 2020 tax return.
  • Records of untaxed income: This may include child support, interest income, and veterans’ noneducation benefits.
  • Records of your assets: This may include savings and checking account balances and value of investments such as stocks and real estate (not including your primary residence). Make sure to review value of investments so you don’t over or under-report any information.
  • List of school(s) you may attend: Name the schools you are considering even though you haven’t been accepted or applied. The schools on your list will receive your FAFSA® results to decide the types and amounts of aid. Keep in mind you can list up to 10 schools.

Keep in mind if you are a dependent, you’ll need to report your parents’ information on your application. For more information about how to fill out your FAFSA®, watch the how-to video at

What are my eligibility requirements?

Visit for a complete list of basic eligibility requirements.

Are there any deadlines?

There are FAFSA® deadlines, so don’t miss out on any opportunities. Visit for Federal, college, and state deadlines.

What should I do if I didn’t receive enough financial aid?

There are ways to fill the financial aid gap when you don’t receive enough to cover school expenses. They include:

  • Scholarships: They are usually merit-based and don’t require repayment. Scholarships may be school or major specific as well as offered at the state and national levels. Local groups may offer opportunities to apply including community organizations and businesses. Be aware of the deadlines and make sure to give yourself enough time to apply. Some may require essays.
  • Part-time work: Working part-time either through the school or the Federal Work-Study program can help you pay for school expenses. It may be an educational experience, learning how to balance work and school.
  • Additional Federal student loans: See if you are eligible for additional student loans through the school’s financial aid office. If you are a dependent, your parents can apply for a Federal Direct PLUS Loan, or if ineligible, you may be eligible for unsubsidized loans. Visit for more information.
  • Private or alternative loans: Check with the financial aid office for a list of private lenders. Keep in mind that private loans may have higher fees or interest rates depending on your credit. If you need to apply for alternative loans, compare before deciding, making sure to look at the interest rate, fees, repayment term, and creditworthiness requirements.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with Adirondack Bank. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. Adirondack Bank is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the information provided or the content of any third-party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. Adirondack Bank makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.