The 2023-24 FAFSA will open in December! More details are coming soon.
Seniors: All students (regardless of citizenship status) will now create an FSA ID. If you need assistance, counselors will be available on September 19th-22nd and September 26th-29th to help you. Once you have created your FSA ID, please help your parent(s)/guardian(s) create theirs.
Here is what you will need to complete the FAFSA:
- Your FSA ID
- Social Security Number
- Student Alien Registration number/USCIS number for eligible non-citizens
- Birth dates
- Student's driver's license number (if applicable)
- Student's personal email address
- Date parents were married, separated, divorced, or widowed
- 2021 federal income tax forms and, if applicable, Schedule K-1 (form 1065)
- 2021 W-2 forms
- Current cash and checking/savings account balances
- Current investment values (stocks, savings bonds, mutual funds, CDs) excluding parent's home and retirement plans.
- Current business value (if applicable)
- Current investment farm value (if applicable)
- 2021 child support paid or received
- 2021 worker's compensation benefits
- 2021 housing/food/living allowance for military or clergy (if applicable)
- 2021 veteran's non-education benefits (if applicable)
What are the steps to completing the FAFSA?
- The first step in applying for the FAFSA is setting up an "FSA ID." Both the student AND parent should create an FSA ID. You will need a personal email address AND your social security number to create an FSA ID. If you do not have a social security number, you will enter zeroes instead. The FSA ID and password will enable you and your parents to digitally sign the FAFSA, which allows for processing within a few weeks rather than several months. You will use your FSA ID every year that you complete the FAFSA, so it is critical that you and your parent save it.
- You must verify who you are by checking your email and your text messages to verify your FSA ID. There will be a unique code sent to you via phone and email. Enter that code where indicated. Again, both you AND your parent need to complete this step.
- Now that you have an FSA and are verified, you can start filling out the FAFSA!
- Student Profile: Enter your information accurately -- this means no nicknames or shortened last names. Your FAFSA must be filed with your full LEGAL name.
- Colleges: Enter the school(s) you would like to send your FAFSA results to. Use the search tool to find the correct school. *Remember -- sending your FAFSA results to a school is NOT the same as applying for admission. If you want schools to look at your FAFSA, you must also apply to attend that school.
- Dependency and Parent Demographics: You'll answer a series of questions to determine your dependency status, and most likely be asked to provide information about your parents. This is where they will enter their social security numbers and, if married, marital information.
- Income: Now you are in the heart of the FAFSA. You will need to provide your parent(s) income information from their 2021 taxes. If you have a unique situation or are not sure how to report your parent(s) income, please talk to your counselor -- they can give you resources and guidance, depending on what your situation is.
- When you get to the end of the FAFSA, there will be an option to "sign" the FAFSA by using your FSA ID log-in. Once you complete this step, you are done! Your results will be processed in just a few weeks!
Okay, my FAFSA is filed. What now?
- The first thing you will receive after completing the FAFSA is a tentative "SAR" -- student aid report. This report will tell you what your level of need is, and what contribution (if any) is expected from your parents. If the family contribution is zero -- that means you qualify for student aid (aid can be in the form of a Pell Grant, work-study and student loans).
- After you successfully file the FAFSA (and complete the application to your schools of choice), you will wait for your award package from your schools. However, depending on the information you provide on the FAFSA, your schools may need to verify your parent's income. You will get a notice from your school that you are in verification status and you must complete some steps (usually submitting tax transcripts) to move forward in the process. Don't worry if this happens -- your counselors are familiar with this and can help you step-by-step.
Unique situations you may have questions about:
Q: What if my parents live outside of the country, and I live here with other family?
A: In the eyes of the FAFSA, your parents are always your parents. Unless someone else has LEGALLY adopted you or guardianship has been assigned by a court (very different situation), you will still use your parents' income. Typically, students in this situation are living with a family member, and parents have assigned temporary academic/medical guardianship to that family member or friend. For example, if your parents live in Mexico, you would put zeros for their social security numbers and approximate their annual income (conversion from pesos to dollars can be done on Google very easily). You will likely be selected for verification, but your counselor or the community liaison can write a letter explaining your living situation. Definitely run the scenario by your counselor, or make an appointment at College Depot for expert help with the FAFSA.
Q: What if my parents don't file taxes?
A: This situation can get tricky. While we understand why some parents make the decision not to file, they will need to file in order for you to complete the FAFSA and be eligible for aid. If your parent does not have a social security number or a Registration ID, they can apply for an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) and use that number to file taxes. You can use estimated income on the FAFSA application, but if you are selected for verification, your parent will need a tax ID and 2021 tax transcripts to move forward. There are tax preparation experts in the valley who will help families apply late -- the deadline is December, so please don't wait if they need to file. See your counselor for more information.
Q: I am a DACA student. Can I fill out the FAFSA?
A: DACA/ undocumented students will not complete a FAFSA. Instead, they will complete something called a CSS profile. More details on the CSS profile are coming soon!