What Do You Need To Fill Out the FAFSA?

Jon O'Donnell Updated on September 28, 2018

When you’re ready to fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you’ll need to have some important information on hand. To be eligible for financial aid, you must show proof of your identity, citizenship status, earnings (or parents’ earnings) and other financial information.

How can I prepare to fill out my FAFSA?

Check out the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet before you get started. This worksheet provides a preview of the questions that 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.

To complete my FAFSA, what do I need?

In order to fill out the FAFSA, you will need:

  • Your (and your parents’) Social Security numbers.
  • Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen).
  • Your (and/or your parents’) most recent federal income tax returns, W-2s and other earnings records. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows applicants who have 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 or your parents’ bank statements and records of investments (if applicable).
  • Any additional financial information, such as taxable work-study, assistantships, fellowships, 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).
  • An FSA ID to sign electronically.
  •  Title IV Institution Codes for each school you are applying to.

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 for a FAFSA correction. It’s important to be as accurate as possible the first time, however. If your contact information changes, you become pregnant or are in 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 an all new FAFSA.

What if my finances change after I file my FAFSA?

Fill out your FAFSA with the financial information that is correct the day you are completing the FAFSA. If you or your parents’ income changes significantly after you file your FAFSA, speak to the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend.

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

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

Do your research to receive the most money

Get all the financial aid you deserve. Don’t make these five common FAFSA mistakes and take these important steps before applying. For an in-depth resource, read our FAFSA Guide.

Published in: FAFSA

About the Author
Jon O'Donnell

Jon O'Donnell is a staff writer and marketer who is passionate about bringing transparency to the student loan process. Jon has a long history of connecting people with educational opportunities to help them improve their careers and their personal finances. When Jon isn't informing people about how to make smart financial decisions, you can probably find him in the kitchen attempting to cook up something delicious. Read more by Jon O'Donnell

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