FAFSA & CASFA Resources

  • What is FAFSA?

    The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the form that determines your financial aid from the federal government and most colleges. The form collects personal and financial information from students and parents, and applies a formula to determine your Expected Family Contribution, or EFC.

    Why is FAFSA Completion so important?

    First, FAFSA completion is strongly associated with postsecondary enrollment: 90 percent of high school seniors who complete FAFSA attend college directly from high school, compared to just 55 percent of FAFSA noncompleters.

    Second, research has found that every additional $1,000 in grant aid per student increases postsecondary persistence rates by 4 percentage points. NCAN, FAFSA Completion

    Article: Why Should I Complete the FAFSA?

    Video: Fewer than 2 in 5 high school grads have applied for college financial aid

    Video: Overview of the FA Process

    What is CASFA?

    The Colorado Application for State Financial Aid (CASFA) is the application which students that meet the qualifications can apply for this aid. Students who do not have lawful immigration status and who do not meet the qualifications listed above are also encouraged to apply for institutional aid using the CASFA. Students who are eligible for Federal Title IV aid by completing the FAFSA should not complete the CAFSA. 

    Watch this VIDEO to learn more about the CASFA.


  • What will I need to fill out the FAFSA?

    To complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), you will need:

    • Your Social Security Number

    • Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)

    • Your federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned. (Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)

    • Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)

    • Records of untaxed income (if applicable)

    • An FSA ID to sign electronically.

    If you are a dependent student, then you will also need most of the above information for your parent(s).

  • Am I eligible to receive federal financial aid?

    To be eligible to receive federal student aid, you must:

    • Be a citizen or eligible noncitizen of the United States.

    • Have a valid Social Security Number. (Students from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau are exempt from this requirement.)

    • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or have completed homeschooling. If you don’t, you may still be eligible for federal student aid if you were enrolled in college or career school prior to July 1, 2012. Go to https://studentaid.ed.gov/eligibility/basic-criteria for additional information.

    • Be enrolled in an eligible program as a regular student seeking a degree or certificate.

    • Maintain satisfactory academic progress.

    • Not owe a refund on a federal student grant or be in default on a federal student loan.

    • Register (or already be registered) with the Selective Service System, if you are a male and not currently on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. (Students from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau are exempt from registering; see https://sss.gov for more information.)

    • Not have a conviction for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (such as grants, work-study, or loans). If you have such a conviction, you must complete the Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet to determine if you are eligible for aid or partially eligible for aid.

  • Who can apply for CASFA and what is the purpose?

    CASFA is a safe, easy way to apply for state financial aid if you are a Colorado ASSET (Advancing Students for a Stronger Tomorrow) student.  Non-U.S. citizen resident and non-resident students can use the CASFA to apply for institutional aid. The purpose of the CASFA is to determine need for financial aid awarding purposes to students historically left out of receiving state and federal financial aid. CASFA positively supports families and is a logical next step in efforts to erase equity gaps and put college in reach for the families who benefit most from a postsecondary education. CASFA also supports the department’s efforts to make college more affordable by reducing the cost of obtaining a credential and maximizing a student’s higher education investment. 

  • What is the benefit for applying for state aid?

    State aid, including grants and work-study funds, help open the door to higher education for students who have attended high school in Colorado but who are not eligible for federal financial aid.

  • What are the deadlines for FAFSA

    To be considered for federal student aid for the 2021–22 award year, you can complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form between Oct. 1, 2020, and 11:59 p.m. Central time (CT) on June 30, 2022. Any FAFSA corrections or updates must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CT on Sept. 10, 2022.

    However, many states and colleges have earlier deadlines for applying for state and institutional financial aid. Find your state’s deadline. Check with your college or career school about its deadlines.

    Because of the variation in state and college deadlines, it’s highly recommended that you fill out the FAFSA form as soon as you can after Oct. 1 to ensure that you don’t miss out on available aid.

  • What is the difference between state aid and institutional aid?

     State funded aid is financial aid that is funded by the state of Colorado. Institutional aid is financial aid that is comes from the institution of higher education where the student is enrolled.

  • I have a question about the CASFA application, who do I contact?

     Please contact the financial aid office at the institution you’re applying to if you should have any specific questions about the application. Should you have any technical difficulties with your account contact CASFA@dhe.state.co.us. CDHE will not be able to answer detailed questions about the application at this time.

The FAFSA opens Oct. 1st!