Blog College Preparation

4 Tips for Completing the FAFSA Application

Wednesday, June 1, 2022


1. Save the FAFSA Website gives you direct access to the free FAFSA application. Bookmark the page so it is easily accessible.

2. Have a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID Ready Ahead of Time

If this is your first time filling out a FAFSA application, you need to create an FSA ID. This ID and password are needed for logging in, saving your application, and submitting your FAFSA renewal next year.

Parents of dependent students will need to use their own FSA ID to complete the FAFSA process. We recommend creating your account early—even before you’re ready to complete the FAFSA form. It can take up to three days before you can use your FSA ID.

3. Gather Personal Information

Collect the following information before starting your application. The form can be completed within 20 minutes. This information includes:

  • Your social security number
  • Your driver’s license number
  • Federal tax return form

(If you are claimed as a dependent, you will need your parents’ federal tax returns. If you are independent use your return form information. When it comes to what federal tax form to use, you will need your return from two years ago. If you are applying for the 2022-2023 academic year, use your 2020 tax return.

  • Any other document of reported income
  • Schools you will be attending/interested in attending

4. Apply Early

This is one of the most important FAFSA tips. The earlier you apply, the more college financial aid you can receive. Knowing how much financial aid you qualify for helps you discern what scholarships and student loans to apply for to cover more of your tuition costs. Both private student loans and federal student loans are available. More time equals more opportunities to plan to pay for college.