The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is required by all colleges, and in some cases, it’s the only application needed to award financial aid from all sources.

The FAFSA can be completed online at FAFSA.gov as early as October 1st to apply for the following academic year. Streamline the application with these  tips and resources:

 

  1. Before you begin, create your FSA ID at fsaid.ed.gov which serves as your electronic signature on the application. Document your FSA ID in a safe place; you will need it each year to complete the FAFSA. If the student is dependent according to the filing guidelines, both the student and parent will provide information on the FAFSA and need their own FSA ID.
  2. Save time by compiling information before you apply. Download the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet to help you gather documents and get organized before completing the form online.
  3. Make sure to complete the correct application. Students entering college in the fall of 2020 need to complete the 2020-2021 FAFSA. You may still find the 2019-2020 FAFSA available for students currently enrolled in college.
  4. Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if eligible. Depending on your filing status, you may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to securely transfer your federal tax information onto your FAFSA. This ensures accuracy and saves even more time when completing the form online.
  5. Most importantly, complete the FAFSA as early as you can. Deadlines may not be until January or February however some need-based financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Submitting the application as soon as you can puts you in the best possible position for eligibility.

Additional FAFSA tips and instructions can be found on the Federal Student Aid website.

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