Tips For Completing the FAFSA
A lot of the financial aid you’ll receive from your intended college and the federal
government will be the result of your FAFSA. That’s why it’s especially important
that you make no excuses for filling out that application so that you can see exactly
how much funding you’ll be receiving and which federal funding programs you qualify
for. If you need some help, browse through our site for advice on navigating the
application, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-4-FED-AID
(1-800-433-3243), visit the federal student aid website, or contact the financial
aid administrator at your intended college.
After your FAFSA is processed, you’ll receive a Student Air Report (SAR) that will
summarize the information you’ve received, and see your Expected Family Contribution
(EFC), the amount that a family in your situation should be able to contribute towards
a college education. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, but that doesn’t mean
you should take filing your FAFSA lightly. Check out our tips for completing the
FAFSA below so that you’ll be ready to file the application as soon as it’s available
from the U.S. Department of Education Jan. 1.
- Have available the following documents and information when completing the FAFSA:
- Most recent year's tax forms, or end of year pay stubs.
- W-2 forms
- Records of the most recent year's untaxed income, such as child support and untaxed
income from agencies such as Social Services, Social Security, and the Veteran Administration.
(You do not need to send copies of these documents with your FAFSA, however you
will need to refer to them when you file.)
- The student's correct social security number.
- Do not leave blanks for any questions requiring a numeric figure, such as a dollar
amount or a test score. If your answer to a question is zero, be sure to write "0".
- Read instructions and follow them carefully. Even if you have completed this form
previously, it is not safe to assume revisions have not been made to previous versions.
- If you are a parent completing the form for your children, be sure to complete a
separate FAFSA application for each student. Check that the social security number
reported is the correct one for the student filing the form, incorrect social security
numbers delay processing.
- If you are a dependent student, it is important that you enlist the assistance of
your parents and that you actively participate in completing the FAFSA. If the financial
aid office has questions they will contact the student first, and it is imperative
that both you and your parent(s) are aware of the information provided.
- Obtain the Federal school code from the school or schools you may be interested
- Check figures and calculations. Mistakes delay the processing of up to 40% of all
- The asset questions pertaining to net value are for secondary and investment real
estate only. You are not required to report the net value of your primary residence.
- Sign the FAFSA, both the student and parent (if applicable) must sign and date.
- You should file early, but do not sign, date or mail the FAFSA before January 1.
By filing early, you may receive favorable consideration for receiving campus-based
aid. You must file a FAFSA every year. Any changes in your family situation should
be conveyed to your financial aid administrator, they might affect your eligibility.