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Federal Student Aid Handbook

Intro to the Federal Student Aid Handbook

The Federal Student Aid Handbook is your resource for everything having to do with federal student aid, from loans to grants to eligibility and everything in between.

The handbook is typically used by college financial aid administrators and counselors who help students begin the aid process, from filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), verifying information, and making corrections and other changes to the information reported on the FAFSA. However, the handbook is available online and can be accessed and utilized by anyone who would like to learn more about the federal student aid process.

The handbook is a comprehensive collection of information—but don’t let its size intimidate you. The table of contents is carefully organized and can direct you to the topic you’re searching for. The handbook is broken up into six volumes—plus an application and verification guide to get you started—to make it easy to find the information you need.

The volumes are:

  • Application and Verification Guide
  • Volume 1: Student Eligibility
  • Volume 2: School Eligibility and Operations
  • Volume 3: Calculating Awards and Packaging
  • Volume 4: Processing Aid and Managing FSA Funds
  • Volume 5: Withdrawals and the Return of Title IV Funds
  • Volume 6: The Campus-Based Programs

Being familiar with the handbook is always a good thing; however, don’t hesitate to lean on your financial aid counselors for help parsing the guidelines and rules it contains. They will be familiar with the information contained in the handbook and can often break it down into more digestible sections.

The handbook is updated for each new school year. You can find a list and explanations of the changes made from the previous edition at the front of the handbook for quick access.

The Federal Student Aid Handbook