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What Do You Need To Fill Out the FAFSA? Gather This Info Before Oct. 1

When you’re ready to fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you’ll want to have some very specific info on-hand to ensure you can finish it easily and accurately. 

Here's what you need to prepare. 

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How to prepare

In order to fill out the FAFSA, you'll need:

  • Your (and your parents’) Social Security numbers or your Alien Registration Number if you're not a U.S. citizen.
  • Your (and/or your parents’) most recent federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other earnings records. Time-saving tip: The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows applicants who've already filed their federal income tax returns to prefill the answers to some FAFSA questions by transferring data directly from federal income tax returns. 
  • Your and/or your parents’ bank statements and investment records (if applicable).
  • Any additional financial information, such as taxable work-study, assistantships, fellowships, or grants and scholarship aid reported to the IRS; combat pay or special combat pay; and cooperative education program earnings.
  • Your or your parents’ records and documentation of nontaxable income, such as welfare benefits, Social Security income, veteran’s benefits, or military or clergy allowances (if applicable).
  •  Title IV Institution Codes for each school you are applying to.

See also: We Answer Your FAFSA Questions

Questions you'll need to answer

Check out the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet before you get started. This worksheet provides a preview of the questions you may be asked while completing your FAFSA. These include questions about student citizenship; marital, financial, and dependency status; parental identification; and citizenship and financial information.

See also: How Does FAFSA Work?

What if I forget to fill something out or fill it out incorrectly?

Mistakes happen. If you realize you made a mistake after you filed your FAFSA, you can file a FAFSA correction. But it's better to be as accurate as possible the first time. If your contact information changes, you become pregnant, or you enter into new legal guardianship after you file your FAFSA, you must update your information.

You cannot change your Social Security number on your FAFSA online. If you made a mistake in reporting it, ask your prospective schools’ financial aid offices whether you should submit a new FAFSA.

See also: 11 Common FAFSA Mistakes that Can Cost You Money

What if my finances change after I file my FAFSA?

Fill out your FAFSA with the financial information that's correct on the day you're completing the FAFSA. If you or your parents’ income changes significantly after you file your FAFSA, you can speak to the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend. They can generally make adjustments so your aid package more accurately reflects your new circumstances.

My taxes aren't done yet. Can I still complete the FAFSA?

If you or your parents haven't completed your taxes yet, you can estimate your income and other tax return information and then, if needed, correct your application after you have filed your taxes.

Don't stress, let us help you.

For an in-depth resource to help you work through your FAFSA application, bookmark our question-by-question FAFSA Guide.

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