FAFSA Tips: Everything You Need to Know

Here are our best FAFSA tips with everything you need to know about filling out the FAFSA. You should fill out the FAFSA form as soon as possible on or after Oct. 1, but you should definitely fill it out before your earliest FAFSA deadline. Each state and school sets its own deadline, and some are very early. Check deadlines for your state here.

It’s important to get a StudentAid.gov account username and password (FSA ID) before filling out the FAFSA form. When you register for an FSA ID, you may need to wait up to three days before you can use it to sign your FAFSA form electronically. You and your parent (if you’re considered a dependent student) will each need your own separate FSA IDs to sign the FAFSA form online. Do not share your FSA IDs with each other! Doing so could cause problems or delays with your financial aid. Click here to get your FSA ID.

One of most difficult parts about filling out the FAFSA form is entering the financial information. But thanks to a partnership with the IRS, students and parents who are eligible can automatically transfer necessary 2021 tax information into the 2023–24 FAFSA form using the IRS DRT. It’s the fastest, most accurate way to enter your tax return information into the FAFSA form.

Unless you’re applying to only one college or already know where you’re going to school, you should include more than one. Colleges can’t see the other schools you’ve added, so you should add all colleges you’re considering to your FAFSA® form, even if you aren’t sure whether you’ll apply or be accepted. You can add up to 10 schools at a time. If you’re applying to more than 10 schools,  you’ll need to remove one of the ten schools already listed on your FAFSA form. You may choose which school to replace with the new school. The school removed from the list will not have automatic access to any new information you provide after you’ve removed that school.

It doesn’t hurt your application to add more schools. In fact, you don’t even have to remove schools in which you decide not to apply. If you don’t end up applying or getting accepted to a school, the school can just disregard your FAFSA form. However, you can remove schools at any time to make room for new schools. Note:  If you’re a resident of certain states, the order in which you list the schools on your FAFSA form might matter. Find out whether your state has a requirement for the order you list schools on your FAFSA form.

So many students answer every single question asked but fail to sign the FAFSA® form with their FSA ID and submit the form. This happens for many reasons—maybe you forgot your FSA ID or your parent isn’t with you to sign with the parent FSA ID, so your application is left incomplete. Make sure you complete your application.

For more FAFSA tips, visit the official website.

Allison Green
Boston Tutoring Services

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