2018-2019 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
There have been changes and with the advent of online filing and an earlier filing date (October 1, 2017), and using taxes from two years ago instead of having to estimate (and then correct) the current year’s taxes, it’s not nearly as intimidating a process.
The first step is usually the hardest so we have made the start a little easier.
- The 2018-2019 form will be available online beginning October 1, 2017.
- Create an FSA ID here. An FSA ID gives you access to Federal Student Aid’s online systems and can serve as your legal signature. You can, however, fill out the FAFSA without the FSA ID.
- Parent and child need to create separate FAS ID’s.
- Do not delay filing the FAFSA. It may give you, or your student access to a better financial aid packet. For instance some government grants are awarded on a first come, first served basis.
- To complete the form you will need:
- Your Social Security Card
- Your driver’s license (if any)
- Your 2016 W-2 forms
- Your 2016 Federal Income Tax Return
- Your 2016 untaxed income records
- Your current bank statements
- Your parents’ Federal Income Tax Return
- Your parents’ 2016 W-2 forms
- Your parents’ bank statements
- Your parents’ untaxed income records
- Your parents’ current business and investment records
6. Two advantages to filing online:
- You may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to automatically import your last year’s tax information into your FAFSA.
- You can list up to 10 colleges to receive your FAFSA instead of only four if you use paper.
Keep in mind:
- Mind the deadlines. If there is a chance you’ll receive a better financial aid package if you file early, then it makes sense to file early.
- File even if you know you are above income for federal help. Some colleges will include reviewing the FAFSA as part of awarding their academic scholarships.
- Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool means fewer mistakes on the FAFSA form.
- Fill out the FAFSA form even if you think you are not eligible for financial aid. Some colleges require the form even for academic rewards.
- Just because you were not eligible for aid last year does not mean you will not be in the coming year. There are many variables including how many children are attending college at the same time.
- Give only the information they ask for in order to gain the most benefit. One common mistake is including retirement accounts as assets. They are not. Parents are not expected to tap into those savings for students’ college education.
- Do not lie about your assets or income! Most fraud is caught and the consequences may include fines, jail time or being expelled from school. And for sure – no financial aid.
Please do not wait to complete your FAFSA. We are happy to help with any questions you may have.