Preparing for the FAFSA
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can seem daunting, but we
are here to help you through the process!
What Should You Do First?
The first step is to set up a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID).
You should try to sign up for an FSA ID at least one week prior to when you
intend to complete your FAFSA to allow sufficient time for processing.
If you are a
dependent student for federal aid purposes, both the you and at least one parent
must have an FSA ID. Please note graduate-level students are considered "independent" and do not need
parent information or signature on the FAFSA.
You will use your FSA ID throughout your time at college to access multiple federal
websites, so it's important to remember your FSA ID and password.
If you already have an FSA ID, make sure you are prepped and ready with your log in information.
What Information Do You Need for the FAFSA?
If you are a dependent student for federal aid purposes, you must provide parent
information on the FAFSA. Most students are considered dependents for federal
aid, even if they are supporting themselves financially. Use this
chart to determine if you are dependent (and must provide parent information)
or independent (and not required to provide parent information).
If you are able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (which is part of the FAFSA) to pull your tax information from the IRS directly into your FAFSA, that’s great! It makes the process faster and easier for YOU! However, not everyone can use the IRS DRT. For information about who is eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
See the image below for what information you will need in addition to tax information
studentaid.ed.gov for a full list.
Not sure what tax year information to provide? The FAFSA will tell you!
However, if you're gathering documentation,
visit studentaid.ed.gov for more on appropriate taxes.