Whether you are a high school senior graduating or a non-traditional student, you should fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to see if you qualify for financial aid for college. Before you get started, here are some things you will need.
- Your FSA ID: This is your account username and password. Set it up now at fafsa.gov because it can take up to three days before you can use it. It is a digital legal signature you use to complete and update your FAFSA.
- Your Social Security Number: Your SS # is on your social security card. If you don’t have it, you can request a card or get a replacement card from the Social Security Administration. If you’re not a US citizen, you will need your Alien Registration number.
- Your Driver’s License Number: You will need it on your FAFSA. If you don’t have one, no worries.
- Your 2020 Federal Income Tax Return: You will need to report your income for 2020 on the FAFSA. If you are a dependent student, your parents will have to, too.
- If you have already filed your income tax return, you may be eligible to transfer your tax information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. (IRS DRT) The IRS DRT is the fastest and most accurate way to put your tax return information into the FAFSA. You will not see your tax information; you will see “Transferred from the IRS.”
- You MUST use your 2020 income. If you have a reduction in income in 2021, contact the Financial Aid Office at the school you plan on attending, make an appointment with a financial adviser, and explain the change.
- Records of Your Untaxed Income: This includes child support, interest income, and veterans’ noneducation benefits.
- Records of Your Assets (Money): Savings and checking account balances, investments (stocks, bonds and real estate but not counting your house if you own it). These are amounts as of the date you are filing your FAFSA, NOT, the 2020 amounts.
- Schools you are applying to. The schools you list on your FAFSA will automatically get your FAFSA electronically. Even if you are applying to a private school for a certificate program, and they don’t accept federal financial aid from their students, you need to fill this out. The school will look at it to determine the amount of financial aid they will give you. For a list of schools, go to https://hsmgr.org/education/
Got your ducks in a row? There are a couple ways you can complete the FAFSA.
- fafsa.gov or
- myStudentAid mobile app. This app can be used to fill out the form and manage your account, view you aid history and loan information, etc. It is available from the Apple App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android).