Completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the most important step in the financial aid process and determines your eligibility for both state of Indiana and Federal financial aid, which includes work-study and education loans. Most colleges require the FAFSA to determine your need for institutional scholarships and grants as well, so it’s always best to file the FAFSA! Don’t forget the first “F” in FAFSA stands for free. Never pay to file the FAFSA.
When should you file the FAFSA? You can actually file it anytime during the year, but the key is filing the correct FAFSA. Knowing which application to file is determined by when you will attend school. We’ve created the chart below to help you know which FAFSA to file and when to file it. Filing the correct FAFSA on time can help maximize your eligibility for FREE money!
Filing Your FAFSA
The first step in preparing for the FAFSA is to create your FSA (Federal Student Aid) ID. Here is a helpful handout to walk you through the steps in creating your ID. The student needs one, as well as one parent of a dependent student. The FSA ID identifies you based on your full name, social security number, date of birth, and serves as your electronic signature on the FAFSA. Click here to create your FSA ID now!
After you’ve created your FSA ID, the second step in preparing to file the FAFSA is gathering all the information you need to complete the form. INvestEd has created a FAFSA Checklist to help you identify which items you’ll need. There’s also a place to write down your FSA ID, so you can reference it from year to year.
After you have created your FSA ID and gathered the necessary documents, step three is to file the FAFSA! You can begin this process at FAFSA.gov. A critical piece of the FAFSA is providing accurate tax information which you may be able to transfer directly from the IRS using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. INvestEd has created a step-by-step guide to help you through this process.
Questions on filing the FAFSA? We’re here to help. Just contact us.