To be eligible for a portion of the billions of dollars the federal government provides annually to qualified undergraduate, graduate and professional students, you must complete a FAFSA. The application asks for financial information about you and your parents if you are a dependent. That information is used to calculate your financial need, based on the cost of attending your school and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Even if you think you or your parents make too much money to qualify for financial aid, you should still complete the FAFSA. Many scholarship applications and schools that award private scholarships or merit-based aid, require the FAFSA to be on file.