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

Jon O'Donnell Updated on August 26, 2020

When you’re ready to fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you’ll need to have some very specific info on-hand. 

Here's how you can prepare. 

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See also: How Does FAFSA Work?

How to prepare

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. Time-saving tip: 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).
  •  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 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.

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. It’s important to be as accurate as possible the first time, however. 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 an all 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 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.

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.

Published in: FAFSA

About the Author
Jon O'Donnell

Jon is a writer and marketer for Nitro who is passionate about bringing transparency to the student loan process along with providing families with the information needed to make smart financial decisions. He also just recently refinanced his student loans allowing him to pay them off 5 years faster all while saving an additional $152/month. As he continues to pay them off himself, he strives to help others do the same. Jon also has a long history of connecting people with educational opportunities to help them improve their careers and their overall personal finances. In his free time you can find him reading travel blogs and researching destinations around the world in search of his next adventure. Read more by Jon O'Donnell

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