Skip to main content

How To: Apply For Financial Aid

The Free Application For Federal Aid (FAFSA) is the application for grants, loans, and work-study funds provided by the federal government. All students are strongly encouraged to complete the FAFSA. Salem State University also uses the information from your FAFSA to award students state and university aid.

For an overview of the FAFSA, please watch this video for more information. 

The FAFSA is required for each academic year a student is enrolled at Salem State in a degree-seeking program. Students must be in a degree-seeking program to be eligible to receive financial aid. The FAFSA opens every October 1.

The priority filing deadline for Salem State is February 15 and May 1 for the state of Massachusetts.

Missed the priority deadline? Visit What Happens If I Miss Salem State's February 15 FAFSA Priority Filing Deadline? for more information. 

How to Fill Out the FAFSA: 

You can also watch the How to Fill Out The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Form video for more information

Create an FSA ID and Password 

  • Your FSA ID allows you to complete and sign your FAFSA form electronically. It also allows you to access the myStudentAid app, sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN), complete loan counseling, and access your federal loan borrowing history. 

  •  If your parent's information is reported on the FAFSA, your parent will also need to create an FSA ID and password to sign the FAFSA. 

Gather the Documents and Information Needed Before You Apply

The FAFSA questions ask for your financial situation information (your name, date of birth, address, etc.). Depending on your circumstances (for instance, whether you're a U.S. citizen or what tax form you used), you might need the following information or documents as you fill out the FAFSA application:

  • Your Social Security number (you must enter it correctly on the FAFSA form!)

  • Your parents' Social Security numbers if you are a dependent student

  • Your driver's license number, if you have one

  • Your Alien Registration number if you are not a U.S. citizen

  • Federal tax information or tax returns, including IRS W-2 information, for you (and your spouse, if you are married) and for your parents if you are a dependent student:

    • IRS 1040
    • Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically transfer your tax information to the FAFSA within the application for faster completion.

    • Foreign tax return or IRS 1040NR
    • Tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or Palau
  • Records of your untaxed income, such as child support received, interest income, and veterans noneducation benefits, for you, and your parents, if you are a dependent student.

  • Information on cash; savings and checking account balances; investments, including stocks and bonds and real estate (but not including the home in which you live); and business and farm assets for you, and your parents if you are a dependent student

After you have created an FSA ID and have your documentation ready, complete the FAFSA form at studentaid.gov. If you need help filling out the FAFSA, you may contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center for assistance or at Get Help Filling Out The FAFSA. 

The FAFSA Process

Financial Aid awards are based upon completion of the verification process (if selected). If you feel your family's financial situation has changed, you may submit an appeal and provide documentation. 

Do You Need More Help?

Financial Aid
Student Navigation Center
Walk-In Service: Student Navigation Center: Second Floor, Classroom Building, Central Campus, 71 Loring Avenue, Salem, MA 01970