Preparing for the FAFSA
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can seem daunting, but we are here to help you through the process!
- First... set up your FSA ID
- Second... gather some information
- Third... complete and submit your FAFSA!
First... Set Up Your FSA ID
The first step is to create your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) - your username and password for most federal financial aid websites. It is important that students set up their own FSA ID to prevent potential issues in the future - and because individuals are not authorized to create an FSA ID on behalf of someone else, including a family member. Try to set this up at least one week prior to when you intend to start 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 in college, 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.
Second... Gather Some Information
To submit your FAFSA, you will need:
- Your Social Security number (or Alien Registration number if not a U.S. citizen)
- Your federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned. For example, you would need 2017 tax information for the 2019-2020 FAFSA. Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool - which saves you from having to input tax information!
- Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
- Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
If you are a dependent student for federal aid purposes, you will also need the information above for your parent(s).
Third... Complete and Submit Your FAFSA!
Once you have gathered everything, you are ready to submit your FAFSA via the myStudentAid app or at fafsa.ed.gov. See our Complete the FAFSA page for answers to some frequently asked questions.