FAFSA Process

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is required by virtually all colleges for students to receive need-based financial aid.

1. Obtain a FSA ID for you and one of your parents. Both you and one of your parents MUST have a FSA ID to submit your FAFSA online after October 1.

Filling Out The FAFSA Worksheet – Before October 1, 2016:

2. Print the draft version of the 2017-2018 FAFSA Worksheet. This draft version of the Worksheet should be nearly identical to final version that will be available after October 1, 2016. Completing this Worksheet will prepare you for submitting the online FAFSA soon after October 1, 2016. There is also a draft 2017-2018 FAFSA on the Web Worksheet available; this worksheet is less detailed and will only partially prepare you for submitting the online FAFSA after October 1, 2016.

3. Gather all financial documents needed to complete the paper 2017-2018 FAFSA Worksheet.

4. Complete the paper 2017-2018 FAFSA Worksheet by hand in September 2016 using report of your family’s 2015 income and financial assets.

Filling Out The FAFSA Worksheet – After October 1, 2016:

2. After Octorber 1, print a PDF version of the 2017-2018 FAFSA Worksheet.

3. Gather all financial documents needed to complete the paper 2017-2018 FAFSA Worksheet.

4. Complete the paper 2017-2018 FAFSA Worksheet by hand as soon as possible in October 2016 using ESTIMATES of your family’s 2015 income and financial assets.

5. Go online, complete and submit the online FAFSA in the first two weeks of October 2016. Upon submittal of the online FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report Acknowledgement that confirms you successfully submitted your online FAFSA. Also, you should print a paper copy of your summary information and your Student Aid Report (SAR). File all paper copies in your filing system.

6. You and your parents are to complete 2015 federal income tax returns in February 2016.

7. Upon completion of 2015 federal income tax returns, review your Student Aid Report (SAR) and compare the numbers on your SAR to the numbers on your and your parents’ 2015 tax returns. If the estimates on the FAFSA you submitted in October 2016 are substantially different, make corrections to the FAFSA as necessary. After making corrections, print copies of your summary information and the new Student Aid Report (SAR). After printing your new SAR, you are finished with the FAFSA for this year (unless you are selected for verification – see 8. below).

8. If your FAFSA is selected for verification, in the weeks that follow you will receive instructions to send additional supporting financial documents (such as 2015 federal tax returns, bank account statements, and other information). Follow all instructions from your colleges and the U.S. Department of Education. Once all requested documents have been sent and received, you are finished with the FAFSA for this year.