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All About the FAFSA Process

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used by the Department of Education to collect financial and household information in order to determine a student's eligibility for federal and state financial aid programs.

Below is important information to assist you with completing the FAFSA.

Getting Started

  • The FAFSA is specific to academic years. A new FAFSA becomes available January 1 of each year for the next academic year and students can complete/make corrections up until June 30 of the proceeding year.
    • For Example: The FAFSA for the 2014-2015 academic year became available on January 1, 2014 and can be completed/corrected by student up until June 30, 2015. 
  • The FAFSA can be completed online at
  • Drexel's Federal School code is 003256
  • You (and your parent if you are a dependent student) will need to use your federal PIN to log-in to the FAFSA system and sign the application electronically when complete.

Completing the Application

  • It is important to complete the FAFSA by Drexel's priority deadline in order to be considered for all types of financial aid.
  • If the tax documentation you need to complete the FAFSA is not ready before Drexel's priority deadline, you should complete an initial FAFSA:
    • Select "Will File" as the Tax Filing Status for yourself/spouse and/or your parents
    • Use estimated information to answer all tax questions. It is important that you estimate carefully; if your actual information is significantly different from your estimates it may have significant impacts to your financial aid eligibility.
    • You will need to update the tax documentation on your application once the necessary taxes are filed. Any financial aid Drexel offers you will not be considered final or allowed to pay until your tax status and information has been updated.
  • If the necessary tax returns have been completed, you should use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to complete the FAFSA. This tool allows tax information to be transfered directly from the IRS to your FAFSA, ensuring the accuracy of the information and reducing the number of questions a student/parent must answer. Drexel strongly recommends using the DRT. Information is typically available for download to the FAFSA via DRT at least ten days after tax returns have been accepted and processed by the IRS. More information can be found at the IRS Data Retrieval Tool website.
  • If you have any questions you can contact a FAFSA customer service representative at 1.800.4.FED.AID (1.800.433.3243).

Student Aid Report

The Department of Education typically takes 3-5 business days to fully process your FAFSA once you have submitted a complete application. Once your FAFSA is fully processed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) that will indicate any issues with your application and your potential next steps. If there are any errors or issues that you need to resolve you will need to follow the instructions listed on the SAR to correct them. Your Student Aid Report will also include your Expected Family Contribution as calculated by the Department of Education.

The information that is reported on your SAR is also sent to the schools you listed on your FAFSA. Drexel University should receive your FAFSA data at the same time you recieve your SAR.

FAFSA Filing Deadlines

In order to be considered for most types of financial aid programs, students must complete the FAFSA by the deadlines listed below:

Academic Year
Academic Year 
New Freshman Applicants February 15, 2016 March 2, 2015 
New Undergraduate Transfer Applicants No deadline Same as Admissions Application Deadline 
New Graduate Applicants March 1, 2016 Same as Admissions Application Deadline 
All Continuing Students March 1, 2016  March 2, 2015