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FAFSA - The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the form that the federal government uses to determine your eligibility for federal aid. This aid includes grants, work-study and loans. Be sure to get your FSAID before filling out the FAFSA.
Steps to Fill Out the FAFSA
Get your FSA ID (username) and password. You’ll use this to log into your FAFSA, sign your FAFSA and check your FAFSA status online. If you’ll need a parent to provide info for your FAFSA and sign your FAFSA, your parent should also make his/her own FSA ID.
Gather the financial documents you’ll need to refer to when you fill out the FAFSA - for the 2022-23 FAFSA, refer to 2020 tax returns.
The FAFSA becomes available after October 1 of each year. Since funds are limited at many schools, early submission maximizes your chances of receiving financial aid.
Submit the FAFSA whether or not you think you qualify for aid. Sometimes being rejected for federal aid is prerequisite for receiving private awards.
Contact your prospective college's financial aid office for additional information. Your school may require forms in addition to the FAFSA or may have an earlier submission deadline.
5 Most Common FAFSA Mistakes
- Do not leave a field blank. Use a zero if the question does not apply to you.
- Don't forget to report ALL required sources of untaxed income.
- Use the 1040 Federal tax return for reporting income and taxes paid, not the W-2.
- Include yourself in household size, even if you didn't live there the previous year.
- Sign the application. If you are filing as a dependent, make sure your parents sign too.
Gathering the Documents Needed to Apply
The FAFSA questions ask for information about you (your name, date of birth, address, etc.) and about your financial situation. Depending on your circumstances (for instance, whether you’re a U.S. citizen or what tax form you used), you might need the following information or documents as you fill out the FAFSA application:
Your Social Security number (it’s important that you enter it correctly on the FAFSA form!)
Your parents’ Social Security numbers if you are a dependent student
Your driver’s license number if you have one
Your Alien Registration number if you are not a U.S. citizen
Federal tax information or tax returns including IRS W-2 information, for you (and your spouse, if you are married), and for your parents if you are a dependent student:
- IRS 1040
- Foreign tax return or IRS 1040NR
- Tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or Palau
Records of your untaxed income, such as child support received, interest income, and veterans noneducation benefits, for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student
Information on cash; savings and checking account balances; investments, including stocks and bonds and real estate (but not including the home in which you live); and business and farm assets for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student