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How to file for FAFSA
Raine Woodson
Tuesday, September 03, 2019

     When filing for FAFSA use the .gov website, https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa, or the myStudentAid app, available on Android and iOS devices.

     The process is completely free, any website charging for this free service is fraudulent.

     To begin the process the student must make an FSA ID. The process is broken into six steps, beginning with making a username and password. The next few steps will ask for sensitive information, such as your Social Security Number (SSN). It is important to note that nobody should make this account on behalf of someone else or even on behalf of a family member, as it handles private information. It will take a few days for FAFSA to verify a SSN, so no one can register and file on the same day. After making the FSA ID, begin the process of filling out the FAFSA form.

     Select “Enter your FSA ID,” enter the FSA ID username and password made in the previous step, then click “Next.” Choose the FAFSA form that you want to complete, if planning to attend between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020, fill out the 2020-2021 form. After selecting the form to complete, create a save key. The save key will be beneficial because it will allow the person filling out the form to save the FAFSA form and return to it later if they had to wait to finish it and it allows a parent and their student to “pass” the FAFSA form back and forth.

      This next step is to fill out the Student Demographics section, basically, this section just asks for information such as their name and date of birth. However, be careful while filling this out, nicknames are not allowed on the forms. Fill out everything just as it would appear on a Social Security Card.

     Select the colleges to have the FAFSA Information sent to. When in the school selection, add every college to have the information sent to, even if it is one they have not applied to or been accepted by yet. It will not hurt an application to add a large variety of schools because colleges are unable to see what other schools one had already applied to and even if they did not get accepted to the school, the school could just disregard the FAFSA form sent in. The maximum amount of schools a person is able to pick at one time is ten, but schools can be removed from that list and replaced by other schools. 

     Answer the dependency status questions.In the dependency status section, the student will be asked specific questions to determine if they are should provide their parent’s information on the FAFSA form. If they are determined to be a dependent student, they will be required to report information about their parent(s). If they are determined to be an independent student, they will not have to provide any parent information and can move onto the next step.

     Next, fill out the Parent Demographics section. The information in this step is for the parent to fill out. Parent(s) will provide basic demographic information. Even if a student no longer lives with their parents, the information is required if you were determined to you still must report information about them if the student was determined to be a dependent student in the previous step if determined to be an independent student then disregard this step. 

     Supply their financial information, this section is where the student and their parent(s), if applicable, will provide financial information. This step is made easy if they use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), which returned with the 2020–2021 FAFSA form on Oct. 1, 2020, with additional security and privacy protections added. The IRS DRT allows them to import their IRS tax information into the FAFSA form with just a few clicks. Using this tool could reduce the amount of paperwork necessary to provide to the school. So if eligible, be sure to use the tool.

      To use the tool, they need to indicate that they have already completed taxes on the student or parent finances page. If eligible, they will see a “Link to IRS” button. Select that option and do the given prompts.

     Finally, sign and submit the FAFSA form. The quickest and easiest way to sign the FAFSA form is online with their FSA ID. No one is finished with the FAFSA form until it has been signed by them and their parent(s) if they are a dependent student. 

     The state deadline to file for FASFA starts October 1, 2019, and ends at midnight Central Time, April 15, 2020. The state of Indiana allows students to appeal if they miss the state deadline because of extenuating circumstances.