FAFSA Submission Toolkit


FAFSA Submission Support Resources

Adaptable, ready-to-use content to encourage FAFSA submissions

Illustration of activists and books

Our analysts have observed a meaningful and multi-year slowdown in FASFA submissions nationwide, due in part to the on-going impacts of the pandemic. Many high school seniors are still navigating their fall semesters with limited guidance counselor interaction, creating concern that there is a continued risk of fewer families submitting FAFSAs.

Though there are many reasons students and families do not submit the FAFSA, research suggests that better instruction, support, and encouragement can help. Our student communication and financial aid experts have created a suite of adaptable, ready-to-use content you can use on your website and in your communications stream to encourage FAFSA submissions, as well as a training toolkit to help onboard financial aid associates to your team.

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More on this topic

This resource is part of our larger research initiative, focusing on DEIJ initiatives. 

To make the submission resources easy to use, we made them available with:

  • Multiple editable formats (PDF and HTML)
  • Pre-built logo and branding customizations
  • Colloquial and easy-to-understand verbiage
  • English and Spanish versions

We hope your team and prospective families benefit from these tools, which take our best practices from student communication and apply them to the financial aid process.

Watch this video for PDF customization instructions

Instructions for saving the PDF after editing:

  1. In the top menu, select File > Print.
  2. Select the PDF printer (The Adobe PDF printer should be installed with Adobe Acrobat. Numerous free PDF printer drivers are also available for download from the internet.)
  3. Select OK.
  4. Specify location to save the printed, “flattened” version of the form.
  5. Select save.


  1. In the top menu, select file > Export to.
  2. Select export to > Microsoft Word.
  3. Specify location to save the document.

Submission Resources

Concise, accessible content that addresses obstacles we’ve identified as the most common barriers to FAFSA submission or to successfully navigating the financial aid process, particularly for underrepresented minorities and first-generation students. Each can be used as stand-alone content or piecemeal to augment your existing financial aid resources.

FAFSA Verification: Don't Panic and Don't Wait

This resource provides simple steps for students selected for the FAFSA verification process.

English: PDF | HTML
Spanish: PDF | HTML

Apples to Apples: 3 Steps to Finding the Best College Deal

This worksheet helps students calculate cost and compare colleges they're most interested in.

English: PDF | HTML
Spanish: PDF | HTML

Parent PLUS Loans: Are They Right for You?

This resource offers a quick overview of PLUS loans, so students can decide whether they're a a good option for them and their families.

English: PDF | HTML
Spanish: PDF | HTML

FAFSA Facts and Fiction: Get the Truth - and the Money You Need for College

This guide addresses the most common barriers to filing the FAFSA, especially for low-income students.
English: PDF | HTML
Spanish: PDF | HTML

Six Items and 22 Minutes: All You Need to Fill out the FAFSA

This resource addresses the misconception that the FAFSA takes a long time to complete and requires documentation that is difficult to access.

English: PDF | HTML
Spanish: PDF | HTML

Financial Aid Vocab Cheat Sheet

This glossary explains common acronyms and terms in the financial aid process.

English: PDF | HTML
Spanish: PDF | HTML


A Second Look: Appealing Your Aid Award When Family Finances Shift

This guide addresses the professional judgment/special circumstances appeal process and how to indicate on the FAFSA that a parent is unemployed.

English: PDF | HTML
Spanish: PDF | HTML

The FAFSA: The Most Important Financial Aid Form You’ll Ever Fill Out

This comprehensive resource incorporates elements featured in the previous guides, including a section on where to get help filing the FAFSA.

English: PDF | HTML
Spanish: PDF | HTML

Communication Resources

Student-focused email, SMS and social media content that centers on FAFSA filing, priority date awareness and counseling outreach that can be used to enhance your existing communications stream.

FAFSA Email Copy Content

This sample content includes various approaches to general FAFSA awareness, priority dates and counseling outreach. It is designed to be sent from your financial aid office, though the content could be modified to send from admissions as well.

FAFSA Social Media Content

These examples include platform-specific messaging for Instagram/Facebook and Twitter to help you boost your presence on social media.


This content includes both responsive and static examples of action-oriented messaging.

Training Toolkit

Amalgamated content for financial aid professionals on providing clear and concise guidance to students and families, answers to the most common questions asked about financial aid and affordability, and guides on how financial aid is used to enroll and retain students.

5 recommendations to create urgency around FAFSA submissions

Encouraging students and their families to file their FAFSAs, while also offering the resources they need to do so, is more critical this year than ever.

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