Students left more than $2.3 billion in federal financial aid on the table, according to a recent study by Nerdwallet.
Don’t let that happen to you. The Federal Application for Federal Student Aid has launched. If you need financial aid for college for the 2019-2020 school year, make sure you fill out the FAFSA ASAP.
Check out these 10 FAQs we hear from students and parents.
1. Do I need to complete the FAFSA every year?
Yes, you must complete the FAFSA every year you want to receive financial aid for college. If next year is your first year in college, it’ll be the first time you complete the FAFSA. But you’ll need to complete it every year you’re in college too.
2. Do the parent and child need their own FAFSA IDs?
Yes, the FSA, or Federal Student Aid, ID is the identification the parent and child need to sign the FAFSA. The FAFSA isn’t considered complete until the parent and child both sign it. Since that’s the case, the parent and child both need their own FSA IDs. Create your own FSA ID by going to the FSA ID website. After you create your FSA ID, you’ll need to wait three days before you can complete the FAFSA. So go ahead and create your FSA ID today.
3. Which email should I use for my ID?
Your ID needs to be attached to a unique email address. One of the biggest problems we see is one party creating IDs for both parent and student. An ID cannot be attached to the same email.
4. Can I use my high school email address for my FSA ID email?
No. Some high schools don’t allow students to access their email after they graduate. If this happens to you, you won’t be able to access your email to reset your account. Instead, use a third-party email address (like Gmail) that you’ll have access to.
5. Is there a limit to the number of schools I can put on my FAFSA?
Yes, you can list 10 colleges and universities on your FAFSA. If you think of one after you list 10, you’ll need to delete one before you can add another. It’s important to include colleges so that you can make yourself eligible for their financial aid. It doesn’t matter if you’ve applied to them yet. Go ahead and list them.
6. My biological parents don’t live together. Which should I list on the FAFSA?
You can include only one household on the FAFSA. If your biological parents don’t live in the same household, the parent who provides 51% or more for you is the one who should be listed on the FAFSA.
7. Is there any easy way to enter my tax information on the FAFSA?
Yes! The Data Retrieval tool, or DRT, makes it easy for parents who filed a US tax return to transfer the tax information to the FAFSA. Where is the DRT? Once you’re logged onto the FAFSA site, select “Continue” or “Make a Correction.” Then select the “Financial Information” tab at the top of the page. Then, click on the “Link to IRS” button.
8. Do I need to complete my taxes before I submit the FAFSA?
Yes, you do. However, the FAFSA uses data from two years ago. So, when you fill out the FAFSA for the 2019-2020 school year, be sure to supply tax information for 2017.
9. Should I fill out the FAFSA if I’m not getting federal student aid?
Yes, the FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, but states and colleges use the form to determine the financial aid you’re eligible for. For example, if you’re a South Carolina resident, the state uses the FAFSA to determine if you’re eligible for the South Carolina Tuition Grant.
10. Is there anything else I should be aware of regarding the FAFSA?
You are officially done with the FAFSA when you click SAVE and SUBMIT at the end. Many people think they’re done when they click SAVE. Don’t leave money on the table by forgetting to click SUBMIT.