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If You're Applying for FAFSA, Is Your Paperwork in Order? Thumbnail

If You're Applying for FAFSA, Is Your Paperwork in Order?

Have you filled out your child’s or grandchild’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) yet? The FAFSA not only determines their eligibility for federal student aid, but many schools also use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for scholarships, grants, and additional loans.

As a reminder, the FAFSA deadline is June 30!

The sooner you submit your FAFSA, the better. Some aid is awarded on a first come, first-serve basis, so delaying too long can mean missing out on some much-needed funding for college expenses.1

Whether you’re filling out your FAFSA for the first time or simply confirming your information from last year, there are a few things you can do ahead of time to help make the process easier. You can do everything online, from either your computer or through the FAFSA mobile app.

Use the steps below to walk through filling out your child’s FAFSA. It should take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete.

Step #1: Creating Your FSA ID

Creating a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID isn’t required, but it can be a useful place to start. Having an FSA ID allows you to electronically sign your FAFSA letter and any loan documents you may receive. If your child ends up filling out the FAFSA at any time in the future, they will need their own FSA ID.

If you already started your FAFSA, you can set up your FSA along the way—but creating it ahead of time can make the process easier.

Step #2: Gather All Needed Documents

The FAFSA will determine financial aid eligibility based on your personal financial situation. You’ll need a few documents to prove your identity (your Social Security number and driver’s license number) as well as any supporting financial documents. Remember, if you plan on mailing in the FAFSA, do not send any of these documents in with your application.

You may need some (or all) of the following, depending on your situation:

  • Federal tax information or tax returns, including IRS W-2 information for you and your spouse
  • IRS 1040
  • Records of your untaxed income
  • Asset information, including things such as cash, savings and checking account balances, investments, and business and farm assets

Step #3: Selecting Colleges or Career Schools

To complete your FAFSA, at least one school must be selected. While the order doesn’t matter for federal aid, some states have different requirements to receive state funding. You can check online through the Department of Education to see if your state has this requirement.

Step #4: Transferring Your Tax Information

When filling out your FAFSA online, the IRS offers a Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT). Using the IRS DRT saves you the hassle of locating your tax records by connecting you with the IRS database.

Step #5: Signing & Submitting Your FAFSA

Once you’ve filled out your FAFSA, you’re ready to sign and submit it. While you can print off the documents to sign and submit them through the mail, your FAFSA may be processed quicker if you sign and submit it online. You’ll be able to sign and submit your FAFSA electronically using the FSA ID you created earlier.

If you have other children in college, you can automatically transfer your information to another child’s FAFSA form if you filled out the original FAFSA online.

Remember, the FAFSA needs to be completed for every school year that your child attends. If you have questions about funding your child’s education or need help with your FAFSA, reach out to your financial professional for guidance.

  1. https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/is-fafsa-aid-first-come-first-served

For more information, please contact Stephen Blahovec and Michael Rausch of North River Wealth Advisors.  We are an independent, fee-only financial planning and investment management firm located in Pittsburgh, PA servicing clients locally and across the country.  To learn more, contact us here.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.