If you need financial assistance to pay for college, you must complete the Free Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) Application Form. The FAFSA Form 2021-22 will be available October 1, 2020. You should complete it as soon as possible on or after October 1st on the official government website, fafsa.gov.

It’s easier to fill out the FAFSA form when you collect what you need in advance. Below is information on how to complete it.

1. Your FSA ID *

An FSA ID is a username and password that you can use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. Each student and parent of each dependent student will need an FSA ID to complete the FAFSA process on fafsa.gov. We recommend that you create your FSA ID early – before you can fill out the FAFSA form – to avoid delays in the process.

For step-by-step instructions, see Create your FSA ID.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT create an FSA ID for someone else. This means that parents should not create FSA IDs for their children and vice versa. This can cause problems signing and submitting the FAFSA form and delays in obtaining financial assistance. (It’s also against the rules to create an FSA ID for someone else.)

Sum up:

  • Anyone interested in completing the FAFSA Form 2021-22 should create an FSA ID as soon as possible.
  • If you need to provide parent information on your FAFSA form, your parent should also create an FSA ID.
  • Since your FSA ID is the same as your signature, parents and students must each create their own FSA IDs with their own email address and phone number. Parents should not create an FSA ID for their child and vice versa.
  • In some situations, you may have to wait up to three days to use your FSA ID after it is created. If you want to avoid FAFSA delays, create your FSA ID now

2. Your social security number *

You can find the number on your social security card. If you don’t have access to it and don’t know where it is, ask your parent or guardian, or get a new or replacement Social Security Card from the Social Security Authority. If you are not a US citizen but meet basic Federal Student Aid eligibility requirements, you will also need your alien registration number.

3. Your driver’s license number

If you don’t have a driver’s license, don’t worry about this step.

4. Your tax documents for 2019 *

In case you were not aware of the changes we made to the FAFSA process starting with the 2017-18 FAFSA Form, you will now need to report income information from a previous tax year.

  • On the FAFSA 2021-22 Form, you (and your parents, if applicable) are providing your 2019 income information, not your 2018 income information.
  • Since you have likely already submitted your 2019 taxes by the time the FAFSA form launches, you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to import your tax information into the FAFSA form immediately. (No logging back in to update after tax filing!)
  • Not everyone is allowed to use the IRS DRT. and the IRS DRT does not enter all of the financial information required on the FAFSA form. Therefore, you should have your 2019 tax return and 2019 IRS W-2 available for reference.

The IRS DRT is the fastest, most accurate way to get your tax return information into the FAFSA form. To address security and privacy concerns related to the IRS DRT, the tax return information you submit from the IRS will not be displayed on fafsa.gov or the IRS DRT website. Instead, it says “Transferred by IRS” in the appropriate fields on fafsa.gov.

  • she I can’t use it Your 2020 tax information. We know that 2019 income for some families does not accurately reflect your current financial situation. If you’ve seen a decrease in income since the 2019 tax year, you should fill out the FAFSA form with the information requested (2019) and then contact each of the schools you are applying to to explain the change and document your income. They can assess your situation and make adjustments to your FAFSA form if necessary.
  • You cannot update your FAFSA 2021-22 form with your 2020 tax information after filing 2020 taxes. Information for 2019 is required. No updates necessary; No updates allowed.

5. Records of your untaxed income *

The FAFSA Untaxed Income questions may or may not apply to you. These include child maintenance payments received, interest income, and non-education benefits for veterans. On the FAFSA Form 2021-22, include tax or calendar year information for 2019 when you ask these questions.

6. Records of your assets (money) *

This section lists savings and checking account balances, as well as the value of assets such as stocks and bonds, and real estate (but not the house your family lives in). You should report the current amounts at the time you sign the FAFSA form rather than reporting the 2019 tax year amounts.

Note: Misreporting the value of investments is a common FAFSA mistake. Please carefully review what is and is not an investment for students and parents to make sure you are not reporting too much or too little. You may be surprised at what can (and cannot) be excluded.

7. List of schools you want to attend

Make sure to add every college you are considering even if you haven’t applied yet or haven’t been accepted.

  • Even if there is little chance that you will apply to college, include the school on your FAFSA form. You can always remove schools later if you decide not to apply. However, if you wait to add a school, you could miss out on financial aid that comes first and is served first.
  • The schools you indicate on your FAFSA form will automatically receive your FAFSA results electronically. They use your FAFSA information to determine the type and amount of grant you may receive.
  • If you add a school to your FAFSA form and later decide not to apply for admission to that school, that’s fine! The school will likely not offer you any help until you are accepted anyway.
  • You can list up to 10 schools at a time on your FAFSA form. If you are applying to more than 10 schools here is what you should do.

TIP: To be considered for state aid, several states must list schools in a specific order (e.g., you may need to list a state school first). Find out if your state has a requirement for the order in which you list schools on your FAFSA form.

* If you are a dependent student, your parents will need this information as well.

Ready to go?

Once you’re done, there are several ways to fill out the FAFSA form, including the fafsa.gov website or the new myStudentAid mobile app. The app allows you to fill out the FAFSA form securely from your mobile device. In the app, you can also manage your FSA ID, view your student grant history and federal loan information, and much more. The myStudentAid app is available in the Apple App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android).

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