Step 1: Filing the FAFSA

You must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at You must file a FAFSA each academic year.

  • For questions about the FAFSA please call the U.S. Department of Education at 1-800-433-3243.
  • You will need to have an FSA ID to serve as your electronic signature for the FAFSA. If you are an undergraduate, dependent student your parent must also sign the FAFSA with their FSA ID.
  • If you did not file a FAFSA in the prior year and do not have an FSA ID, you (and your parent, if applicable) can apply for one online at
  • Your application will not be processed without the FSA ID.
  • Once you complete and submit the FAFSA on-line, the processed information will be sent electronically from the Federal Processor to UNCG within two weeks, provided that you included UNCG’s school code (002976) on the FAFSA.
Tips for Filing the FAFSA
  • Check out this great guide from University of California, Santa Barbara!
  • The FAFSA will be available October 1 for the upcoming academic year and will be based on the previous year’s tax information. (Ex: October 1, 2020 the FAFSA will be available for 2021-2022 and will use 2019 tax information.)
  • If the Federal Processor receives your FAFSA by January 15, your application becomes a “Priority Application” for UNCG financial aid. Although there are no guarantees, a priority application means that you have a better chance of receiving certain funds that are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Federal Processor must receive the FAFSA by this date.
  • Read the instructions for the FAFSA before you fill it out. This is very important. Errors and omissions delay processing and awarding.
  • Make sure your name, Social Security Number, and birth date are correct on the FAFSA to prevent delays.
  • When you complete the tax-related questions on the FAFSA, pay special attention to the tax form line numbers given for some questions. These will guide you to the correct figures to use from your tax forms.
  • Be sure you enter your correct housing plans. If you do not enter the correct housing plans or do not enter any option at all, your financial aid award may be incorrect and may have to be recalculated.
  • Do not send tax returns or other extraneous information to the Federal Processor after you complete the FAFSA on-line. It will not be retained by the Federal Processor nor will it be forwarded to UNCG. But DO keep these documents for your records. You may need to provide copies of them later to the FAO, if requested to do so.