FAFSA is the official federal form used for determining the amount of financial aid you may be eligible for. You may begin filing FAFSA online on January 1 of each year.

         This form is filled out online at www.FAFSA.ed.gov.  There are no fees for this application.                           Your first step is to get FSA ID# numbers.  Both the student and one parent will each need one.  You use these ID numbers to electronically sign FAFSA.  Both the student and a parent will need social security numbers and a seperate email address to get an ID number. Save these numbers as you will use these same numbers every year you are in college and filing financial aid paperwork.

         You will also need to gather financial records before you start your FAFSA.  You will need parent and student federal 2015 income tax forms you filed this year, savings account & investment records, along with child support & others payments you have paid or received.

        On the FAFSA website, click on “Start Here” to begin the actual FAFSA.  Every box must be filled in.  “Save” as you go along.  New this year, you have an option to have your tax information automatically entered for you by the IRS.  You should choose this option to avoid mistakes.

        Enter the codes for all colleges that you are interested in attending.  You may enter 10 colleges or programs such as the NCAA or special scholarship programs that ask for FAFSA data. If you need to send FAFSA data to more than 10 schools, you file the original 10, then delete those and add the new ones and submit again.

        REMEMBER:  Both the student and a parent must “sign” using their FSA ID# numbers.  Your FAFSA will not be processed without both of these signatures.  Make sure that FAFSA is submitted completely and sign out of the website. If you do not have a FSA ID#, you must print out the signature page, both parent and student sign it and mail it in. This will delay your award letter as it takes time to process the mail in signature page.

        Later, return to www.fafsa.ed.gov to check to see if the application has been processed.  Click on the “check status of submitted FAFSA” in the blue section at the top of the page.  Make any corrections at this time.  

         The colleges you coded will use the information from your FAFSA to determine your financial need.  They will send you a financial aid award letter, probably on your college email site.  This will outline exactly what financial aid you will be offered by the college.  You must accept any offer before you graduate from high school to ensure your funding for the next school year.