The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form that can be prepared annually by current and prospective college students (undergraduate and graduate) in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid.


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form that can be prepared annually by current and prospective college students (undergraduate and graduate) in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid.


  • Nearly every student is eligible for some form of financial aid. Students who may not be eligible for need-based aid may still be eligible for an unsubsidized Stafford Loan regardless of income or circumstances.
  • After completing the FAFSA, students are presented with a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR provides a student with their potential eligibility for different types of financial aid, their Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and a summary of the data a student provided in the application.


  • (Added 11/10/23, ASCA Scene): Mark Salisbury webinar: “Where you apply matters, being financially smart from the start.” at collegemoneymatters.org/september-2023-webinar)
  • (Added 11/10/23, CHE): Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 167-2023: FAFSA – Overview During the 2023 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 167-2023 which requires high school seniors to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or affirmatively opt out of filing by April 15. Completing the FAFSA is an important step in a postsecondary education. Students pursuing short-term certificate training, associate/bachelor’s degrees and even some apprenticeships may receive financial aid by completing the FAFSA.
      • Tracking FAFSA Completion
        • High school administrators and counselors can see which students have completed the FAFSA in real-time in ScholarTrack via the FAFSA Completion Project. Additionally, high schools will be able to report the students who choose to opt out and those waived by the high school after April 15 via the Graduation Details upload in ScholarTrack. High schools will not be asked to provide verification of their two attempts to contact students.
        • The Indiana Commission for Higher Education (Commission) will report the number of students who complete the FAFSA, opt out and are waived by the high school to the Indiana Department of Education for inclusion on the Indiana Graduates Prepared to Succeed Dashboard.
        • Further, high schools’ FAFSA completion rates can be accessed without logging into ScholarTrack via the Learn More Indiana FAFSA Completion Dashboard which will launch in January 2024.
      • Model Notice
        • To assist high schools, the Indiana General Assembly charged the Commission with annually sending a FAFSA model notice that includes:
          • a statement regarding the existence and availability of the FAFSA
          • a description that provides students and parents with an understanding of the process for and benefits of completing the FAFSA; and
          • the state financial aid available to Indiana students.
      • The Commission requests for schools to safelist emails from @che.in.gov and @subscriptions.in.gov so FAFSA communications can be sent directly to students. This will allow the Commission to partner with counselors and educators on FAFSA outreach.
      • Opting Out Students who do not wish to file the FAFSA may opt out in one of the following ways:
        • a parent/guardian of the student submits a FAFSA Waiver Form certifying the student understands what the FAFSA is and declines to complete it;
        • the studentif the student is an emancipated minor or is at least 18 years old, submits a signed waiver certifying the student understands what the FAFSA is and declines to complete it; or
        • the high school principal or counselor of the student waives the requirement due to not being able to reach the family of the student by April 15 after at least two reasonable attempts.
      • The FAFSA Waiver Form will be released on an annual basis on the opening day of the FAFSA. However, the Commission will release this year’s waiver early due to the United States Department of Education delaying the release of the 2024-2025 FAFSA until December 2023. The waiver may be found at https://www.in.gov/che/state-financial-aid/state-financial-aid-by-program/.
      • Questions: High school partners may send questions to schools@che.in.gov or to their Regional Outreach Coordinator.


  • Q: What is the best way to run a FAFSA completion report to see ALL status?
    • A: The FAFSA statuses that you will see in ScholarTrack are as follows:Yes – Student has filed the FAFSA and we have received the data file from the federal processor. They may still have edits to correct, but they have at least filed.No – Student either has not filed the FAFSA or has filed so recently that we haven’t received the data file yet. It usually takes 3-5 business to process the initial FAFSA, but can take longer during high volume times.Wrong Year Filed – Student has filed a FAFSA, but not for the current academic year. They will need to log back into the federal FAFSA site and file the correct year in order to be eligible for state and federal financial aid. The correct FAFSA for 2021 seniors is the 2021-2022 FAFSA, using 2019 tax information.

You may also see Unavailable. That isn’t a FAFSA status. It just indicates that the status is hidden. Schools without a FAFSA data share agreement on file will see this in place of a status. The FAFSA completion report is under the reports tab on the left side of the screen. Once you select the FAFSA Completion Report, you have different filters you can apply to get the results you want.

You will want the 2021 cohort for your current seniors. On the 21 Century Scholars selection, if you leave it blank, the report will include all seniors, both Scholars and non-Scholars. If you want to only check your Scholars, you will select the answer “yes” from the dropdown. For ScholarTrack Account, you can leave it blank for all statuses, or you can select “yes” or “no” if you want to see who has an account or who doesn’t have an account. Finally, FAFSA on File, if you leave it blank, it will include all students and include one of the statuses above listed. You can also day “yes” to get a list of who has already filed, “no” to see who still needs to file, or “Wrong Year Filed” to see if anyone needs to file the correct year.

  • Q: Does anyone know of a source, other than 21st Century Scholars, that will show which of our students has filed their FAFSA?
    • A: If your school participates in the FAFSA Completion data share project, you will be able to see all of your students in ScholarTrack, not just 21st Century scholars.  If you have questions about whether your school has a data share agreement on file, please email me directly with the name of your school: bmartin@che.in.gov
    • A: I love using this option on ScholarTrack. I can see if a student has not completed their FAFSA or if they have left out information. Many times, the student doesn’t realize FAFSA is waiting on more information until I bring it to their attention.
  • Q: When a student fills out the student information section on the FAFSA and has earned a number of dual credits, does the students mark she “has never been to college/1st year” or do her dual credits affect her answer?
    • A: High school dual credits do not mean that they have formally attended college, so they should still answer that they have never been to college.
  • To ensure all students understand how to afford postsecondary education, HEA 1629-2019 requires each 12th–grade student and at least one of their parents/guardians to be provided with a notice regarding information on about the FAFSA by their school corporation. FAFSA filling for the class of 2021 is down 15% from this time last year, due to the pandemic. To assist school corporations, the General Assembly charged the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE) with creating and annually updating a model notice.  The FAFSA notice must include:
    • A statement regarding the existence and availability of the FAFSA
    • A description that provides parents and students with an understanding of the process for and benefits of completing a FAFSA
    • The approximate annual tuition costs of each state educational institution in Indiana
    • The state scholarships, grants or other assistance available to students in Indiana

The Commission worked with various education stakeholders to create this document. (Spanish version) The document can be shared digitally or via hard-copy. School corporations may create and distribute their own FAFSA notice so long as it contains the information listed above.

Finally, school administrators and counselors can track your school’s FAFSA completion rate through the LearnMore Indiana FAFSA Completion Dashboard. If you have any questions the FAFSA notice or the FAFSA in general, please contact Courtney Hott, Director of Legislation & Program Implementation at chott@che.in.gov or 317-232-1069.

  • Q: Does anyone have any videos for filling out the FAFSA that I could send out?
  • FAFSA Updates from Commission for Higher Education – May 4, 2020
  • Q: Does anyone know why I have students that have completed their FAFSA but they are showing up on the report as not completed?
    • A: There are different reasons why a student may not show as complete. If the information on their school record doesn’t match exactly with the information on the FAFSA, it may create a new student record instead of syncing with the existing record, especially if the student did not list the high school on the FAFSA.  If you have questions, please send me the student’s first and last name and date of birth. If we have not received the data file from the federal processor, I can request the file from them. If the student does not have a full account with a SSN listed, I will also need their SSN to make the request.  We update ScholarTrack daily, so the lag of 3-5 days is the time it takes for the FAFSA to be processed by the federal Department of Education before they send it to the state. If it has been longer than a week, that is when you should have me request the file. (from Barbie Martin, Indiana Commission for Higher Education, April 2020)
  • Q: This is my first time with a senior that is not a US Citizen but a citizen of Mexico. What financial opportunities are available for him? He is intelligent and active but he’s not sure how he can afford college. Any suggestions? He can’t fill out the FAFSA correct?
    • A: He still needs to fill it out. He is probably going to be better off going to a private school because they have more private scholarships they can give to non-citizens.
    • Look at the Golden Door scholarship program. https://www.goldendoorscholars.org/
    • Some colleges offer scholarship for DACA students, have them check with the universities. La Plaza, from Indianapolis, has a package for Hispanic students, and some for DACA students as well.
    • This was shared with me awhile. Private schools seem to be the better route. I believe they can use the FAFSA to determine what they could be eligible for or maybe one of those CSS profiles. They will not get any money from it, I’m a little leary with current administration though. Private schools can offer more assistance since they aren’t tied to federal dollars. Indiana schools would recognize them as out of state which is even higher tuition costs for state schools. A former advisor talked to me about having them go the Ivy Tech route to cut down on those initial costs of attending.
    • I would contact the International office of admissions at a college. They know the difference in all the types of oversea students and what they can do and apply for. My suggestion is to contact IUPUI.
    • If he has DACA that gives him temporary protected status but that unfortunately knocks him out for state and federal aid eligibility. The one thing to note from this is that he could still file the FAFSA because DACA recipients are eligible for SSNs, but I would have him consult with his colleges/universities to which he is considering attending to see if they want him to file it. Some do and some don’t.
    • I am sure he is feeling overwhelmed by it all. Private institutions, as I am sure you know, can be more flexible in how their aid packages are distributed.
  • FAFSA Data Share Agreement: HEA 1245-2019 requires all Indiana high schools, or their school corporations, to enter into a FAFSA Data Share Agreement with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.  The data is incorporated into ScholarTrack, so you will have access through your ScholarTrack accounts. Once your school has an executed data share agreement, you will be able to look at individual students and pull a FAFSA completion report for the full cohort.  HEA 1245-2019 FAFSA Memo
  • From Counselor Talk, October 2018:
  • From Counselor Talk, January 2018:
    • Q: How to handle the FAFSA for a Senior who is 18 and is no longer living with her parents, nor has contact with them
    • A: She will need to fill out a dependency override form once she fills out her FAFSA and it rejects she will then take it to the school and she will need documentation from several different people so that she will then be considered independent and be able to get aid. It is a whole process and it’s in-depth. She will need letters from professionals like you that know her situation as well as possibly a minister or someone else that knows her situation. She will need to keep all the documentation because each and every year until she graduates she will have to fill out the forms.  She has to make contact with the Fin Aid office of the school she plans to attend so they know what is going on and to keep them in the loop.
  • From Counselor Talk, April 2018:
    • Q: Where can I locate a list of my seniors that have completed a FAFSA?
    • A: upload all of your seniors to ScholarTrack & then under “Reports”, “Middle/High School”  and “FAFSA Completion Report”


If you have suggestions, feedback, or resources, please email counselor1stop@inspiresuccess.org and let us know.