October 1st is here – it’s time to file FAFSA® for the upcoming aid year and whether you’re filing for the first time or refiling – remember, FAFSA® is first-come, first-serve, so it’s recommended to file as soon as possible to maximize your aid.
Here is what you’ll need to file, what’s new for the 2019-20 FAFSA®, and how to file in under 5 minutes.
Make sure you have everything you need to file
Especially for students and families filing for the first time, it’s easy to get surprised by all the information you’ll need to finish the application. Having everything handy before you start the form will save you time.
For students applying with parents or legal guardians, this checklist applies to both you and the primary parent or legal guardian with whom you are filing your FAFSA®. Not sure if you need to file with a parent or legal guardian? Take the quiz here to find out.
Here is what you’ll need:
You’ll need an FSA ID to digitally sign your FAFSA® application once you’ve completed it. You can create an FSA ID here. If you forgot or lost your FSA ID from the last time you’ve filed, no worries, we have you covered – check out this guide.Remember: You and your primary parent or legal guardian will both need to create your own FSA IDs to complete FAFSA®.
Social Security Number (SSN)
You’ll need your social security number to complete your FAFSA® application. If you don’t know what your social security number is, ask your parent or guardian. If you lost your social security card, it happens, you can order a new one here. If you’re an eligible non-citizen, you can still file – learn more on eligible non-citizens here.
2017 tax records, untaxed income, and assets
The Department of Education seeks to get a full financial picture of you and your family’s situation – if you’re filing with your parent or guardian – to decide how much financial aid to award you.
- 2017 tax records
Although some students can automatically import their tax information into FAFSA® using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), the Department Of Education cautions that not all information may be filled in for you from the DRT. It is recommended to have your copy of 2017 tax records ready, just in case. If your financial situation has drastically changed during the last tax year, consider filing an aid appeal with schools after you receive your aid award letter, which is a letter that breaks down how much financial aid a school can give you.
- Untaxed income & assets
Students and their families also have to report untaxed income, which is income like child support, veterans non-education benefits, and interest earning income. Assets- property that you own that is valuable enough to meet debt – such as a home, investment instruments such as stock and bonds, and checking/savings accounts should also be reported in FAFSA®.
- 2017 tax records
Schools that you want to attend
Lastly, you should have a list of schools that you want to attend. You can include up to 10 schools on your FAFSA® application.
File FAFSA® in under 5 minutes with Frank
Frank has helped over 300,000 students apply for financial aid, boasting the fastest and easiest application process, and the best part? It’s 100% free.
The intuitive interface from Frank is easy to understand and to use securely on any device – you can apply right from your mobile phone. For students applying with parents or guardians, getting through the parent portion of the application is a breeze.