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Financial Aid

Popular Questions (and Answers!) about the FAFSA®

We answer questions including when to start the FAFSA, when to complete the FAFSA, and when deadlines are.
Popular Questions (and Answers!) about the FAFSA<sup>®</sup>

During this time of the year, we get a lot of questions from families who have students heading off to college in the fall regarding the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The financial aid process can be overwhelming, so here are some answers to common questions we receive about the FAFSA.

Can I start the FAFSA now?

Yes! The FAFSA just became available on October 1st. You can complete it at Even if you don't plan to complete the FAFSA just yet, you can prepare by obtaining an FSA ID for both the student and the parent. The FSA ID serves as your electronic signature for the FAFSA. To obtain an FSA ID, visit

Who needs to complete the FAFSA?

Any student who wishes to apply for federal financial aid must complete a FAFSA ever year. The FAFSA will require information from both the student and the parents.

If the student's parents are divorced, the custodial parent should complete the FAFSA with the student. If the custodial parent is remarried, that spouse's information will also need to be reported on the FAFSA. The custodial parent is defined as the parent with whom the student lived the most during the previous 12 months.

If the non-custodial parent claims the student for tax purposes, the custodial parent would still be the one to complete the FAFSA.

What's my deadline?

Deadlines vary from school to school, and it is imperative that you submit your FAFSA before your earliest financial aid deadline. Financial aid deadlines can be found by going directly to each college or university's financial aid webpage. Most financial aid deadlines fall between late January and mid-March.

Where can I get help with the FAFSA?

Families can receive help completing the FAFSA during FAFSA Day events on designated dates across Massachusetts from October until February. FAFSA Day, a College Goal Sunday Program, is a non-profit, volunteer driven program providing free assistance to students and families seeking to complete the FAFSA. To check on locations and dates visit

The financial aid process can seem very overwhelming for students and parents, and we are here to help by providing answers to your financial aid questions. Email us at with questions or contact us at 800.449.MEFA (6332) if there are questions you may not see being addressed here.

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