Scholarships

Guide on FAFSA Scholarships 2024 for International Students in US

Guide on FAFSA Scholarships 2024 for International Students in US

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GyanDhan brings you a complete guide on FAFSA scholarships for international students in US. Know about FAFSA deadlines, application process, eligibility and can international students apply for FAFSA in US?

GyanDhan
Brinda Khurana
Updated on:  17 Feb 2024  | Reviewed By: 
Aman 
| 435 | 9  min read

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form you fill out to get financial help for college from the US government. It's managed by the US Department of Education and is the main way students can get money to help pay for their education. This help can come as grants, work-study programs, and loans that don't need to be paid back, or loans that do. It's free to apply, and you can get this aid if you're a US citizen or meet certain rules if you're not a citizen. This includes students from India who might be applying for citizenship, have parents working in the US, or have permission to work. 

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What are the Types of Financial Aid Available Through FAFSA?

FAFSA facilitates access to diverse financial aid options for students attending college or career school:

  • list items Federal grants: Non-repayable financial support, including Pell Grants for undergraduates with financial need, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) for those with exceptional need, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants for future teachers in high-need areas.
  • list items Work-study: Offers part-time employment to students with financial need, promoting community service and relevant work experience.
  • list items Federal student loans: Must be repaid with interest. Options include Direct Subsidized Loans for undergraduates with financial need, Direct Unsubsidized Loans available to all students, Direct PLUS Loans for graduate students or parents of undergrads, and Direct Consolidation Loans to combine federal loans into one.
  • list items State aid: Various states provide grants, scholarships, and other aid, with eligibility often based on FAFSA results.
  • list items Institutional aid: Many colleges use FAFSA data to distribute their own financial aid packages, including scholarships and grants.
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What is the Difference Between FAFSA Scholarships and Other Scholarships ?

Below is a table that outlines the differences between FAFSA-related aid (often referred to as "FAFSA scholarships" for simplicity) and other scholarships to study in US:
 

Feature FAFSA-Related Aid Other Scholarships

Source of Aid

Federal government, influencing state and institutional aid.

Colleges, universities, and private entities.

Basis for Aid

Primarily need-based, evaluating the family's finances.

Need-based or merit-based (academic, sports, arts), among others.

Application Process

Completion of the FAFSA form is required.

May need separate applications, essays, interviews, or auditions.

Eligibility

US citizens or eligible non-citizens.

Broad, including international students and various specific criteria.

Renewal

Annual renewal with FAFSA re-submission.

Varies, from one-time to renewable based on certain criteria.

Amount of Aid

Based on government formulas and financial needs.

Wide range, from minor awards to full tuition.

Impact on Financial Aid

Part of the overall financial aid package, possibly reducing other need-based aid.

Varies by institution; may or may not affect other aid.

Availability

Nationwide for students at eligible institutions.

May be restricted to certain schools, regions, or criteria.

 

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What are the Benefits of FAFSA?

Federal student aid from the US Department of Education (ED) helps with costs like tuition, room and board, textbooks, commuting, and more. It can also cover additional needs like computer purchases and childcare. 

FAFSA offers numerous advantages for obtaining grants, scholarships, and awards.

  • list items FAFSA scholarships are accessible to applicants of any age, mainly based on financial need rather than age.
  • list items These scholarships are not exclusively for academically outstanding students; eligibility requires passing previous academic achievements. Nonetheless, certain institutions might demand a minimum GPA for consideration.
  • list items Through FAFSA, candidates can explore a variety of scholarship opportunities.
  • list items Scholarships are also available for students interested in study abroad programs.
  • list items Applying for FAFSA loans does not necessitate a credit history.
  • list items Loans through FAFSA don't require a co-signer from family or others.
  • list items Loan repayment through FAFSA can begin once the student secures employment.

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What is the Eligibility Requirement for the FAFSA?

The FAFSA eligibility criteria include:

  • list items Citizenship: Must be a US citizen or an eligible non-citizen.
  • list items Social Security Number: Required for most applicants.
  • list items Selective service: Males aged 18-25 must register with the Selective Service System.
  • list items Education: Must have a high school diploma, GED, or completed homeschooling.
  • list items Enrollment: Must be enrolled or accepted in an eligible degree or certificate program.
  • list items Academic progress: Must maintain satisfactory academic progress.
  • list items Financial need: Determined by the FAFSA form for most programs.
  • list items Loan status: Cannot be in default on federal student loans or owe a refund on a federal grant.
  • list items Legal: No convictions for the sale or possession of illegal drugs while receiving federal aid.

Can International Students Apply for FAFSA?

International students have a different set of considerations when it comes to applying for financial aid in the US, as they are not eligible for federal student aid through the FAFSA unless they are eligible non-citizens (such as US permanent residents). Here are some key points:

  • list items Institutional aid: Check with colleges for scholarships and aid.
  • list items Private scholarships: Look for awards from organizations and foundations.
  • list items Sponsorships: Explore funding from governments, companies, or organizations.
  • list items On-Campus employment: F-1 visa students may work limited hours.
  • list items Loans: Private loans may require a US co-signer.
  • list items Exchange programs: Some programs offer financial support.
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What are the Documents Required for a FAFSA Application?

To complete the FAFSA, you'll need to gather several documents and pieces of information to ensure accuracy in your application. Here's a comprehensive list:

  • list items Your Social Security Number: Be sure it's entered correctly to avoid delays.
  • list items Your parents' Social Security Numbers: If you are a dependent student.
  • list items Your Driver’s License Number: If you have one.
  • list items Your Alien Registration Number: If you are not a US citizen but are an eligible non-citizen.
  • list items Federal Tax Information or Tax Returns: This includes IRS W-2 information for you (and your spouse, if you are married), and for your parents if you are a dependent student. You can use the IRS data retrieval tool within the FAFSA form to import this data directly. US IRS Form 1040 Foreign tax return, or Tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the US Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federal States of Micronesia, or Palau, if applicable.
  • list items US IRS Form 1040
  • list items Foreign tax return, or
  • list items Tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the US Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federal States of Micronesia, or Palau, if applicable.
  • list items Records of Untaxed Income: This can include child support received, interest income, and veterans non-education benefits, for you and your parents if you're a dependent.
  • list items Information on cash, savings, and checking account balances; investments: This includes real estate (but not the home in which you live), and business and farm assets for you, and your parents if you're a dependent.
  • list items List of the school(s): You plan to attend. You can list up to 10 schools on your FAFSA form.
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What is the Application Process for the FAFSA Scholarship?

Applying for financial aid through the FAFSA involves several key steps. Here's a step-by-step guide to navigating the FAFSA application process:

  • list items Create a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID: Visit the Federal Student Aid website to create an FSA ID. This ID serves as your legal signature and provides access to FSA online systems.
  • list items Visit the Federal Student Aid website to create an FSA ID. This ID serves as your legal signature and provides access to FSA online systems.
  • list items Start Your FAFSA login form at fafsa.gov: Go to the FAFSA website and start a new FAFSA login form. You can also use the myStudentAid app.
  • list items Go to the FAFSA website and start a new FAFSA login form. You can also use the myStudentAid app.
  • list items Fill out student demographics: This section asks for your personal information, including your name, date of birth, and contact details.
  • list items This section asks for your personal information, including your name, date of birth, and contact details.
  • list items List schools to receive your information: Add the school codes for the colleges or universities you're interested in attending. You can list up to 10 schools.
  • list items Add the school codes for the colleges or universities you're interested in attending. You can list up to 10 schools.
  • list items Input parental information (if required): If you're a dependent student, you'll need to provide detailed information about your parents.
  • list items If you're a dependent student, you'll need to provide detailed information about your parents.
  • list items Provide financial information: Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for ease and accuracy to transfer tax return information directly into your FAFSA form.
  • list items Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for ease and accuracy to transfer tax return information directly into your FAFSA form.
  • list items Sign and submit your FAFSA: Use your FSA ID to sign the FAFSA electronically. If you're a dependent student, a parent will also need to sign with their FSA ID.
  • list items Use your FSA ID to sign the FAFSA electronically. If you're a dependent student, a parent will also need to sign with their FSA ID.
  • list items Review your Student Aid Report (SAR): After submission, you'll receive a SAR summarizing the information you provided on the FAFSA. Review it carefully for any inaccuracies.
  • list items After submission, you'll receive a SAR summarizing the information you provided on the FAFSA. Review it carefully for any inaccuracies.
  • list items Correct or update your FAFSA if necessary: If you need to make corrections or update your application, you can do so by logging back into your FAFSA form.
  • list items If you need to make corrections or update your application, you can do so by logging back into your FAFSA form.
  • list items Review and compare financial aid offers: Once accepted into a college or university, you'll receive a financial aid offer. Compare these offers to understand how much aid you're eligible for from each institution.
  • list items Once accepted into a college or university, you'll receive a financial aid offer. Compare these offers to understand how much aid you're eligible for from each institution.
  • list items Accept your financial aid: Follow the instructions from your chosen institution to accept the financial aid offered.
  • list items Follow the instructions from your chosen institution to accept the financial aid offered.

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What are the Deadlines to Apply for a FAFSA Scholarship?

The FAFSA application opens on October 1st each year for the following academic year. There are multiple deadlines you need to be aware of:

  • list items Federal deadline: For the 2023-2024 academic year, the FAFSA can be submitted until 11:59 p.m. Central Time (CT) on June 30, 2024. Corrections or updates must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CT on September 14, 2024.
  • list items State deadline: Each state has its own deadline for applying for state financial aid, which can be earlier than the federal deadline. 
  • list items College deadlines: Colleges may have their own deadlines for submitting the FAFSA to be considered for institutional financial aid. These deadlines can be earlier than both the federal and state deadlines. 

 

In summary, navigating the complexities of financing education in the US as an international student is made simpler with the insights provided in our guide to FAFSA scholarships for 2024. Understanding and utilizing the FAFSA can unlock numerous financial aid opportunities, easing the journey towards achieving your academic aspirations. Remember, early and meticulous application is crucial in maximizing your chances for aid. Let this guide be the first step in securing your educational future in the US. Embrace the possibilities that FAFSA scholarships offer and move confidently toward your academic goals.

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Frequently asked questions 

Is the FAFSA only for federal student loans?

No, the FAFSA is not just for student loans. It also determines eligibility for federal grants, work-study programs, and some state and institutional scholarships. Completing the FAFSA can help you qualify for aid that doesn't need to be repaid, such as Pell Grants.

Can filling out the FAFSA hurt my chances of getting into college?

No, the FAFSA does not affect your college admissions chances. It is strictly used to determine financial aid eligibility. Colleges evaluate your admissions application separately from your financial aid application.

Do I need to reapply for FAFSA each year?

Yes, you need to complete the FAFSA every year you attend college to remain eligible for financial aid. Your financial situation can change year to year, as can aid availability and requirements.

What is FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form completed by current and prospective college students in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid, including federal grants, loans, and work-study programs.

Can international students apply for FAFSA?

International students are not eligible for the FAFSA, which is for US citizens and eligible non-citizens. However, they can seek scholarships, grants, and loans from colleges, universities, and private organizations designed for international students. It's recommended to consult the financial aid office of the institution you're interested in for specific opportunities.

How can I check my FAFSA status?

To check your FAFSA status:

  • list items Online: Log in at FAFSA.gov with your FSA ID.
  • list items Mobile App: Use the myStudentAid app and log in with your FSA ID.
  • list items Call: Dial 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

After submitting, wait a few days for processing to view your Student Aid Report (SAR) which details your aid eligibility.

How can I save a FAFSA application in a pdf?

To save your FAFSA as a PDF:

  • list items Log in to your account at FAFSA.gov or use the myStudentAid app.
  • list items Find the Confirmation Page after submitting your FAFSA, which includes a link to your Student Aid Report (SAR).
  • list items Open your SAR and use your browser's or app's Print option.
  • list items Select "Save as PDF" or "Print to PDF" as the destination.
  • list items Save the PDF on your computer or device.

Adjust steps as needed based on your specific device and browser.

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