The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to determine how much you and your family can afford to pay for college. The Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) is used by colleges to determine your financial aid package. 





  • The 'F' stands for 'Free!' Be sure you begin at www.fafsa.gov. If you use a different internet address you may be charged a fee to process the application.
  • You must either sign the form using a student (and parent) PIN number or print and mail a completed signature page to the federal processor. Your form will be rejected and you may miss a deadline if you fail to sign your application by one of these methods.
  • July 1 is the deadline for state of Iowa funds such as the Iowa Tuition Grant.
  • If you are applying for any Mercy College need-based scholarships, be sure you have a FAFSA on file in the Financial Aid Office.

Completing the FAFSA

Read and follow the FAFSA instructions carefully. If you have questions, ask for assistance.

  • Funding for many programs is limited. Make sure you know and meet all necessary deadlines. Complete the FAFSA as early as possible.
  • Do not skip questions unless specifically instructed to do so. If the answer to a question is zero, answer with "0". Round all numbers to the nearest dollar.
  • Make sure that the social security number (SSN) you list and the spelling of your name exactly match that listed on the social security card. If the name and SSN listed do not match Social Security Administration records exactly, it will delay your receipt of financial aid.
  • Use of the IRS Data Retrieval tool is highly recommended. This reduces your chance of making an error and lessens the likelihood of your FAFSA being selected for verification.
  • Always remember that the Financial Aid Office is here to help you. Please call or visit if you have questions!