FAFSA for Parents

FAFSA is the application that decides that for what financial assistance you'll be eligible for. It's not just for students, but also for parents. Learn how parents can make use of FAFSA for their child.

Updated by Niharika Padiga on 23rd March 2020

The FAFSA is a student application and if your child is considered dependent, it’s your responsibility to provide certain details and sign in as well electronically to be eligible to receive all the financial benefits.

To be considered dependent, a candidate must meet the following

  • He/she must be less than 24 years

  • Finishes a degree other than a master’s or doctorate

  • Single or not married

  • Veteran or Not an active-duty military member

All students who come under the above conditions must submit their parents’ economic statistics at the FAFSA to proceed further.

If these details of your child are not submitted for whatever reason, your child’s application status will remain unchanged. And if this happens, he/she cannot further be qualified to receive financial support in the form of scholarships, student loans, or grants.


What Next?

Gather all Your Documents and Details

Even though filling FAFSA is direct, it asks only for a few of your details. It takes much time if you’re filing for the first time. Get all your information ready before you streamline filling out the FAFSA form.

Some of your information necessary to fill in

  • Social Security numbers of both the parents and children

  • Alien registration number if a student is not a U.S. citizen

  • W-2 records

  • Federal income tax return

  • Untaxed income records (if it applies to you)

  • Present bank statements, and details on savings and business assets

  • All present investments (if applicable)

  • Apply online: It is easy to fill the FAFSA form for free at fafsa.gov Click on the start button and sign in. Either you or your child can start filling out the form.

  • Check whether both of them have signed electronically on the application with your FSA ID before you submit.

While filing W-2, taxes, and income data you have used the information from 2-years before which is known as prior year filing.

Tips to Create FSA ID

  1. Before you start filling out the application, you will require FSA ID which consists of username and password. If you don’t have an FSA ID, then go to www.studentaid.gov/fsaid to create one which is an official website of the United States government.

  2. Create an FSA ID and do not share your information with anyone even with your child.

  3. Make sure to include your phone number and email address if you require access in the future. If in case you forgot your password, your child needs his/her own FSA ID.

  4. Do not create or use your own child FSA ID. If you attempt this, it can cause certain issues with your child’s application. Now you are ready to work on your FAFSA form.

Tips for Single, or Remarried Parents

Yes, this matters while filling out FAFSA. It is difficult to fill the form without the student’s parents’ financial details. And this data is dependent on the guardians’ marital status.

The student has to provide information about only one parent if their parents are divorced.

The one who provides more financial support is remarried. In such a case, the parent has to give the stepparent’s income information on the FAFSA.

If you are divorced or separated, you need to discuss this with your ex-spouse about your child living arrangements that could help your child pass for economic assistance.


Step-by-Step Guide to Filling FAFSA For Parents

  1. Firstly, Create FSA accounts for both. This will automatically generate a unique FSA ID for you.

  2. Use your newly generated FSA ID to sign in to your FSA account and start a FAFSA.

  3. Start by filling in your child’s details – general information, dependency status, schools that they are considering.

  4. Fill in your details like marital status, financial data, income as reported on your most recent tax return, and present assets.

  5. Sign and submit the completed FAFSA. Make sure to review all the details before submitting.

 Take time to understand your role in your child’s eligibility for financial aid so they can avail of financial aid. This is one of the most important tips about the FAFSA for parents

After Applying

  • After you complete the FAFSA process, your child will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) through an e-mail.

  • This consists of the data about your EFC. This is used by colleges to impel how much your child should receive the federal aid.

  • Re-check the SAR with utmost care – if there are any mistakes, sign in to fafsa.gov, make the corrections and resubmit the application.

  • Your child will get economic assistance grant letters from the colleges recorded on the application. Help your child analyze the amounts and types of aid being provided from every college as he or she makes decisions regarding which college to choose.

  • You can contact the financial aid office if you do not understand what the college is providing your child. 


FAFSA Truths for Parents

A child can get a school fee even without providing any parent’s economic info. Parents can fill out the FAFSA, although they don’t plan on paying for their children’s education.

Every year, each student fills this application form for economic assistance. In this way, colleges use their details from the application to check your financial requirements.

If a student does not fill the application, then they are not eligible for any sort of financial aid. Generally, the process asks for a parent’s economic details.5

5 Myths about FAFSA for Parents

  1. By giving their data, they become responsible for paying for college.

  2. Guardians must be U.S. residents for their children to get economic assistance

  3. Students can’t submit the FAFSA without their parents’ information

  4. No parent data implies no federal economic assistance or loans

  5. You can’t bid your dependent status

Deadlines for FAFSA

  • You can apply for FAFSA each year starting from Oct. 1.

  • The economic assistance deadline is June 30 every year.

  • As few colleges have prior deadlines, fill out the applications as early as possible.