The starting point to apply for financial aid is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application must be completed as soon as possible after January 1. Applicants should use figures from a completed federal income tax return from the previous year; however, estimates are acceptable. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in February every year. You can apply online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Directions to apply for a PIN number are included on the website. A PIN for the student and at least one parent is recommended for faster processing with electronic signatures. From this application, a student can learn about eligibility for the following federal programs: Pell Grant, SEOG, Perkins Loan, Work-Study and Direct Loans. The Access Missouri Grant program is available to Missouri residents and also requires the results of the FAFSA by April 1 of each year. These programs are based on "need" as determined by a federal formula.