Completing the FAFSA Financial Aid Application
Have you been receiving emails about “filing the FAFSA” since October from colleges or your high school counseling office? Are you wondering what information you need in order to file a FAFSA?
What is the FAFSA?
The Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form students and parents must complete and submit to the federal government to determine their eligibility for federal financial aid?
Who files the FAFSA?
Since this is a federal program, it is for US citizens or students with a legal status in the United States. International students are not eligible for federal student aid.
What kind of aid does the federal government offer?
Top Six Tips for getting ready to file the FAFSA
- Create 2 separate FSA ID’s. Each student and parent need an ID to use to officially sign the FAFSA. Click here for directions to setting up a FSA ID.
- Gather financial records. Request end of year (2015) income and asset records. Use 2014 taxes (if no major changes) as tool for estimating 2015 information. Prepare to use estimates for your FAFSA.
- Gather personal records. Organize all parent and student social security, birth dates, and other personal information for easy access.
- Use IRS Data Retrieval tool. Once you start your FAFSA, you will see a question in the FAFSA asking if you want connect your tax return to your FAFSA. Say “YES”. This will streamline your process.
- Prioritize your Colleges. You can only list 10 colleges at a time on the FAFSA. If you have more than 10, prioritize your list with private and in state schools in the top 10.
- Plan to file early. The FAFSA application opened Oct. 1. It will be open until June or July. Many colleges and state programs have deadlines in February and March. Plan to file at least 20 days before the deadline.
- Read Tackling the Basics of College Affordability to learn how colleges award financial aid.