FAFSA Made Simple
Step 1: Create Your FSA ID.
If you have not done so already, create a FSA ID.
You can and should do this before Oct 1.
Parents and Students BOTH need a FSA ID.
Do that here: https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm
Step 2: Gather Your Information.
Locate documents for both parents and the student:
Social Security Number
Federal income tax returns for 2017, W-2s, and other records of money earned. (Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)
Bank statements, Screenshot of Account for the day you file, and records of investments (if applicable)
Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
You may now begin!
If you are filing now to receive aid next year, make sure you are filling out the 2019-2020 form NOT the 2018-19 form.
Fill out here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa
Step 3: Fill Out Student Demographic Information.
Always be sure you are filling out the section for YOU.
The top will tell you if the information is for the student or parents.
Parents and students are assessed differently, so it is crucial you fill everything out properly.
I recommend you use an email address that you check regularly and is not tied to an institution.
Step 4: Add Your Schools.
Add every school you are considering. There is no harm!
Check which of your schools use FAFSA vs CSS Profile.
You can add more than 10 just not at once.
To Add More Schools After You Receive SAR-
Click “Make FAFSA Corrections”. Remove some of the colleges listed on your FAFSA, add the additional school codes, and submit the corrections for processing.
Call 1-800-433-3243 and have them add the colleges for you.
Step 5: Determine your Dependency Status.
Most students will be considered dependent.
Lack of legal guardianship
Step 6: Fill Out Parent Demographic Information.
Step 7: Fill Out Financial Information.
Take a screenshot of your bank account on the exact day that you are filing.
They may ask you to verify and this is the most obvious proof.
Obviously, keep this information in a secure but accessible location.
What not to include:
The value of retirement accounts:
The cash value of life insurance or annuities
Your home’s value
Business assets if you have <100 employees
Step 8: Sign and Submit.
Make sure the FSA ID always matches the specific parent or student. This is a common mistake!
Parents may use their same FSA ID with multiple children.
If you are applying to CSS Profile schools, you will need to fill that out as well. The formula is slightly different, so you may receive a different EFC calculation.
You need to file for FAFSA every year.
If you have an extenuating circumstance, you will need to talk to the Financial Aid office at the college.
Keep your FAFSA information handy for scholarships.
Have more college questions?
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