The FAFSA, Free Application for Federal Student Aid, opens October 1st for students currently in their senior year of high school. Using 2016 tax information, students and parents will complete the FAFSA for their first year of college (2018-2019). To get ready, there are a few things you can complete BEFORE October 1st.
Decide Who Needs to Complete the FAFSA
Traditional married couples- If you are part of a traditional family — married husband, wife, and kids – it’s easy to answer who completes the financial aid forms. Both parents will share their financial information on the FAFSA. This is the same answer for unmarried parents who live together.
Divorced or separated parents- If you are divorced, the parent who has taken care of the child the majority of the year will continue to complete the FAFSA, which is based on where the child has physically lived the majority of the time during a 12-month period ending on the day the FAFSA is completed. Separated parents don’t have to be “legally” separated to be treated the same as divorced couples, but they can’t be living in the same residence.
Contact us for questions about other family situations, such as the death of a parent, guardianships, same-sex couples, or any others that don’t fit general guidelines.
Create your FSA ID
The first step in filling out the FAFSA is creating a Federal Student Aid ID. This username-password combination will allow you to fill out the form online and access information about your financial aid for years to come, including looking up any student loans you have to repay after graduation. If you’re a dependent student, your parent or guardian will need his or her own FSA ID.
Collect Your Forms
Collect your personal information and tax forms to make completing the FAFSA easier:
- Student’s Social Security Card
- Student’s driver’s license (if any)
- Student’s 2016 W-2 forms
- Student’s 2016 Federal Income Tax Return
- Student’s 2016 untaxed income records
- Student’s current bank statements (or access online to check balance)
- Parents’ Federal Income Tax Return
- Parents’ 2016 W-2 forms
- Parents’ bank statements
- Parents’ untaxed income records
- Parents’ current business and investment records