High school seniors and current college students looking for federal and state financial aid to attend college next fall should complete the 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible.

The FAFSA is used to determine how much financial aid a student may be able to receive to help pay for college. In addition to serving as the gateway to apply for all types of federal financial aid, a completed FAFSA is also required for some state aid, including the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship and the Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant Program. Many students underestimate their financial need or assume they won’t qualify for financial aid, but every student should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1 of the senior year of high school and every subsequent year that financial aid will be needed during college.

“Students who complete the FAFSA have access to numerous state and federal scholarships and grants, work-study programs and, if needed, federal student loans,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “It is vitally important that high school seniors and our current college students complete the new FAFSA as soon as it becomes available, as some types of state and federal financial aid are awarded to eligible students on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Students can complete the 2021-22 FAFSA online at FAFSA.gov. The online FAFSA features skip-logic technology that eliminates irrelevant questions based on the applicant’s previous answers, and applicants can choose to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which will automatically transfer their 2019 tax return information to their FAFSA. To complete and submit the FAFSA online, students and one parent will each need to create a Federal Student Aid ID at FSAID.ed.gov. The FSA ID serves as an electronic signature on the FAFSA and certain student loan applications, and allows students to access other federal student aid websites. It is beneficial for families to create FSA IDs before starting the FAFSA to speed up the application process. The U.S. Department of Education estimates the form will take most families less than an hour to complete.

Campus financial aid offices can confirm school-specific deadlines and provide assistance to families during the application process. There’s no charge to complete or submit the FAFSA, so students and parents should be wary of organizations that charge a fee for these services.

The Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP), an operating division of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, offers free FAFSA materials, tools, and workshops to support school- and campus-based FAFSA education for families across the state. For more information about the FAFSA process and to access free educational resources, including tutorial videos in English and Spanish, visit OCAP’s FAFSA completion website, startwithfafsa.org.