FEDERAL FINANCIAL AID can be awarded by the government and by the institution of higher learning that you attend. The amount of financial aid offered is based on need and can come in the form of grants or loans. The FAFSA (Federal Application for Student Aid) can be filled out starting October 1 of the senior year. We know filling out FAFSA can be confusing; you can find several free help sessions throughout the Austin area. See below for details.