FAFSA: the gateway to grants, work-study, and student loans. (And some scholarships.)
Help your student fill out the FAFSA as part of the college application process.
Apply for the FAFSA.
Completing and submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the single most important thing your student can do to get help paying for college. Based on their FAFSA application, they could qualify for grants, work-study, and student loans. Some scholarships require completion of the FAFSA as well.
You’ll need your tax information (both yours and your student’s) to complete the FAFSA. The FAFSA can be completed after October 1 of their senior year in high school. Check their college’s priority financial aid deadline to see when to submit the FAFSA.
Students complete the FAFSA for the first time during their senior year of high school and then again each and every year they are in college. If your student is not a senior in high school yet, you can use the FAFSA4CASTER to estimate how much money your student could qualify for.
Where do I submit the FAFSA?
- You can complete the FAFSA on a computer at FAFSA.gov.
- You can complete the FAFSA on your phone through the myStudentAid app.
- There are other sites that will try to get you to pay in order to submit your FAFSA. DO NOT use any website or app other than FAFSA.gov or myStudentAid to submit your FAFSA.
Where can I get help with the FAFSA?
- Get free help from StepUp’s Financial Aid Experts at any of our Free and public FAFSA Completion Open Houses. See the whole schedule of events here.
- Use our 2019-20 FAFSA Walkthrough Video (available October 1, 2018).
- Use our 2019-120 Do-It-Yourself FAFSA Kit (available October 1, 2018).
What do I need to submit the FAFSA?
- Your federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned. (Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)
- Use 2016 tax info for the 2018-19 FAFSA
- Use 2017 tax info for the 2019-20 FAFSA
- If you are a dependent student, you will also need your parents’ tax information
- Your Social Security Number
- Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
- Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
- Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
- An FSA ID to sign electronically (more information below)
2018-19? 2019-20? How do I know which FAFSA to submit?
- The 2018-19 FAFSA is used to apply for financial aid for fall semester 2018 through summer semester 2019.
- The 2019-20 FAFSA is used to apply for financial aid for fall semester 2019 through summer semester 2020.
You will need an FSA ID to sign your FAFSA:
Do you have an FSA ID? You must have a FSA ID in order to sign and submit your FAFSA. If you are a dependent student, at least one of your parents will need a FSA ID as well. Only create your own FSA ID! Do not create anyone else’s FSA ID for them.