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FAFSA Information

What is the FAFSA? Why Should I Submit It?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used by colleges, states, and even private institutions to determine the eligibility of students for various forms of financial aid. Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free and easier than ever, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school.

 

Even if you think that you will not get aid, you should fill out the FAFSA because you may be surprised what you are eligible for.  Most students at most colleges and universities are able to get some form of financial aid to help pay for their education.

 

Remember that the FAFSA is only used to give you options.  You are not agreeing to anything, including loans, by filling it out.  On the other hand, not filling it out may limit your options.

 

Information Needed for FAFSA

To complete the FAFSA, you will need to collect the following:
  • Birth dates for student and parents (including step-parents)
  • Social security numbers or non-citizen registration numbers for student and parents
  • Drivers license numbers (if applicable)
  • Highest level of schooling completed for parents
  • Federal tax information or tax returns from 2017 for student and parents, such as:
    • W-2 forms
    • IRS 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ
    • Foreign tax returns
  • Investment information (stocks, bonds, real estate [not including home you live in])
  • Information about business and farm assets
  • Amount of cash on hand and balances of savings and checking accounts
  • Records of untaxed income (child support, interest income, veterans noneducation benefits, etc)
  • Date (month/year) parents were married, separated, divorced, or widowed
  • Total people in household
  • Number of household members in college
  • Separate email addresses for student and parents
  • Names of colleges you want in your information sent to (can add up to 10)

 

Printable checklist

Filling Out FAFSA

Step 1: Go to fsaid.ed.gov

  • Follow directions to create FSA IDs for 1) the student and 2) a parent (if applicable).  You can use this worksheet to record your login information.
  • Important: Make sure that both your name and social security number/alien registration number match exactly what is on your social security card/green card. 
  • Parents who are undocumented do not make an FSA ID and must print out and sign a hard copy of FAFSA signature page.

 

Step 2: Go to studentaid.ed.gov/fafsa and fill out the FAFSA

Tips:

  • Make sure to select the 2019-2020 FAFSA
  • Use the included information sheet to determine what parent information must be entered into the FAFSA
  • Undocumented parents use 000-00-0000 in the Social Security Number section.  You must sign a hard copy of the FAFSA signature page.
  • Experts recommend that you indicate that you are interested in Work Study, which is part time work on campus.  You do not have to accept it as part of your financial aid if you don’t ultimately want to, but it gives you another potential option to get financial aid that you will not have to pay back.

 

Step 3: Watch for your Student Aid Report (SAR)

Note: You may be selected for the Verification process.  If this happens, do not panic.  About 30% (or more) of students are selected.  You will need to follow the instructions that you are given – much of this is handled with the financial aid department of your chosen school.  If you need help with this process, let us know.

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