As most of you know the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, more commonly known as the FAFSA, became available for the 2018-2019 school year on Sunday, October 1st. The FAFSA is one of the most important documents you will use throughout your college journey. Take a look at the 5 W’s below to help you out on your FAFSA.
WHY should you file the FAFSA?
When you file early, you will likely receive information on how much aid you qualify for before you receive admission notifications from colleges. This can help you decide how much you can afford, and which school will best meet your needs, both academically and financially.
WHEN should you file the FAFSA (what is the FAFSA 2018-2019 deadline)?
The 2018-2019 FAFSA is available for filing on or after October 1, 2017. The earlier you file, the more grant money you are likely to receive (up to twice as much). Filing early also helps to ensure you don’t miss FAFSA deadlines for state and college aid, such as TN Promise which has a January 16th, 2018 deadline.
WHERE do you file the FAFSA?
The FAFSA is available for filing online at https://fafsa.ed.gov. Also, there is a paper FAFSA application but filing online can greatly speed up the review process and allows you to list up to ten potential colleges instead of four with the paper version. PSA: The FAFSA is always free to file, so be wary of websites mimicking the federal site or requesting a fee.
WHAT will I need to fill out the FAFSA?
Your Social Security Number
Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
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.)
Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
An FSA ID to sign electronically.
WHO is my parent according to the FAFSA form?
It doesn’t matter if you don’t live with your parent or parents; you still must report information about them. The following people are not your parents unless they have legally adopted you: grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers or sisters, uncles or aunts, and widowed stepparents.
If your legal parents (your biological and/or adoptive parents, or parents as determined by the state [e.g., a parent listed on your birth certificate]) are married to each other, answer the questions about both of them, regardless of whether your parents are of the same or opposite sex.
If your legal parents are not married to each other and live together, answer the questions about both of them, regardless of whether your parents are of the same or opposite sex.
If your legal parent is widowed or was never married, answer the questions about that parent.
If your parents are divorced or separated and don’t live together, answer the questions about the parent with whom you lived more during the past 12 months.
If you lived the same amount of time with each divorced or separated parent, give answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months or during the most recent 12 months that you actually received support from a parent.
If your parents live together, you’ll indicate their marital status as “Unmarried and both legal parents living together,” and you will answer questions about both of them on the FAFSA form.
If your parents live together, you’ll indicate their marital status as “Married or remarried” (NOT “Divorced or separated”), and you will answer questions about both of them on the FAFSA form.
If you have a stepparent who is married to the legal parent whose information you’re reporting, you must provide information about that stepparent as well.