The FAFSA

If you wish to apply for federal grants and loans, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at fafsa.ed.gov. Use this chart to determine which FAFSA to complete and when it is available.

 

Attending College from Submit this
FAFSA
Submit the FAFSA from Using Income/Tax
Information from
July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018 2017-18 Oct. 1, 2016-June 30, 2018 2015
July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019 2018-19 Oct. 1, 2017-June 30, 2019 2016

What You Will Need

1. Your FSA ID

An FSA ID is a username/password used to log in to U.S. Department of Education websites. Each student will need an FSA ID. In addition, one parent of each dependent student will need their own FSA ID in order to sign the FAFSA.

For step-by-step instructions on how to create an FSA ID, click here. 

2. Your Social Security Number

If you are a dependent student, you will need your parent's SSNs as well. If you are not a U.S. citizen, but will qualify as an eligible non-citizen, you will need your Alien Registration number. 

3. Your driver's license number (if you have one). 

4. The appropriate year's tax records

If you are submitting a 2018-19 FAFSA it is highly recommended you use the IRS Data Retrieval tool, which pulls information directly from your 2016 tax return to the FAFSA. If you do not wish to use the retrieval tool or do not qualify, you will need your 2016 tax return and any W-2s. 

  • If you are currently married, you will need your spouse's tax information.
  • If you are deemed "dependent" by FAFSA, you will need your parent's tax information. Lack of financial support or not being claimed on parents' taxes does not determine dependency status for financial aid purposes.

If you are submitting a 2017-18 FAFSA the retrieval tool will not be available. You should have your 2015 tax return and any W-2s available for reference. 

5. Records of your untaxed income

Interest income, veterans non-education benefits, child support, etc., are all examples of untaxed income you are required to report on the FAFSA. You will want to reference the appropriate year's records of this information for you and your parents (if dependent). 

6. Records of your assets (money)

Assets include savings and checking account balances, as well as the value of investments such as stocks/bonds/real estate (except the home in which your family lives). You should report the current amounts as of the date you sign the FAFSA. 

How does the FAFSA Determine Aid?

The federal government uses a formula to determine your expected family contribution (EFC). The EFC is used when calculating Pell Grant and subsidized loan eligibility. Typically, the lower your EFC, the more aid you qualify for. 

Questions