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A Simple Guide to Completing the FAFSA

The idea of completing the FAFSA may be enough to make your head spin, but it’s an important form to fill out. We’re here to break it down and make filling out the FAFSA much easier.

Understanding FAFSA Terminology

Before you start the actual FAFSA process, it’s important to understand the key terms you will encounter.

Breaking Down the FAFSA

Understanding the FAFSA process may seem complicated, so let’s take it step-by-step:

1. Create a FSA ID so you can sign your FAFSA electronically. Go to the Federal Student Aid website and enter your Social Security number and contact information.

2. Gather documentation.

You’ll need:

Tip: You might be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to automatically import your tax information.

3. Start a new FAFSA.

4. List the schools you’re considering attending, along with each school’s Federal School Code.

Although you only have to include one school on the FAFSA, it’s a good idea to include all those that you’re considering. For many institutions, financial aid is given on a first-come, first-served basis.

5. Determine your dependency status, as described above.

6. Report your parent’s income if you’re a dependent student.

7. Complete the financial information questions.

8. Sign and submit the FAFSA with your FSA ID. You should receive an email confirmation that your form was successfully completed.

Additional Forms

Free Tools

For more information on the FAFSA, check out “What’s the FAFSA and why is it important?