What is Military FAFSA?

You’ve got a full schedule serving the country on active duty.  With adequate financial assistance you’d register to attend an accredited college and get your undergraduate degree, positioning yourself for promotions and better job opportunities in and outside the military.  Fortunately, tuition assistance is available in several forms.  To obtain some federal aid you must fill out and submit a Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form. 

It takes about 10 minutes to complete a FAFSA application.  Because you’re assigned to a military base and no longer living at home with your parents, you probably won’t need your parents’ financial records to complete the form, shortening the amount of time it takes you to secure funding for your postsecondary education.

As an active duty, reserve or retired military professional, information you may be required to complete on your FAFSA application includes:

  • Your first and last names, street address and telephone number (If you want the Department of Education to let you know the status of your FAFSA application electronically, also provide your email address.)
  • Social Security Number and date of birth (If you live with your parents also provide their names and birth dates.)
  • Your gender and the college grade level (e.g. junior, senior) you’re going into during the coming year
  • Gross wages you received during the previous year (You can get this information off your W-2 forms.)
  • Whether or not you are unemployed
  • Financial investments (e.g. 529 college savings plans)
  • Name and identification number of the accredited college or university you applied to attend

Submitting Your Military FAFSA and Getting Feedback

Mail your application to the address listed on your FAFSA form for Federal Student Aid Programs; the program is headquartered in Mount Vernon, Illinois.  Deadline to apply for a military FAFSA is generally the end of June.  If you also want to receive financial aid from your state government, you might have to file your military FAFSA application earlier, depending on policies established in your home state. 

If the Department of Education determines that you meet the financial requirements to receive a subsidized military student loan you may be able to pay your loan back at a lower interest rate.  However, if you’re only approved to receive an unsubsidized military student loan, you may have to pay your loan back at a 6.8 percent interest rate.  You’ll also start accruing interest on the loan as soon as the financing is approved.  By taking your time as you complete your FAFSA application and providing the Department of Education with sufficient details on your financial status you can eliminate the need to fill out additional forms or send the Department additional data. 

Administrators at the accredited college or university you list on your FAFSA application will contact you to let you know whether or not your military FAFSA application was approved and how much your loan application was approved for.  Generally, you should hear from the college or university within one to two months of submitting your FAFSA application.

After you complete your FAFSA form through the Department of Education, you can receive federal student aid in the form of loans like the Federal Stafford Loan and the Federal Perkins Loan.  You might also qualify to receive federal and state grants.  Of course, also be sure to apply for military student financial aid programs like the Post 9/11 GI Bill, Troops to Teachers, Survivors and Dependents Assistance, Veterans Educational Assistance Program and the Yellow Ribbon Program.  Money from some of these programs may pay the total cost of your four-year education.  Your spouse and dependent children might also be able to receive money to pay for their education through the programs.

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