How to Fill Out FAFSA 2022

Need to complete the FAFSA but unsure of how to do it? Learn how to fill out FAFSA with our guide.

TCM Staff

9th February 2022

College is expensive, and students seek all sorts of financial aid to help cover the cost. The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is one direct route to tuition support. 

But like many government offerings, the FAFSA application and forms may be intimidating. What do I need to fill out the FAFSA; personal contact information or supporting documentation as well? Completing the FAFSA must be done correctly to secure funds — that’s why we created this guide about how to fill out FAFSA. 

First, we’ll outline the importance of completing your FAFSA and inputting all FAFSA information correctly. Then, we’ll briefly discuss who fills out the FAFSA and how to do FAFSA stress-free. Let’s get started!

 

Why Filling Out FAFSA is Important

The FAFSA is your quickest way to increase your shot at financial aid, including grants, scholarships, and lowered student loan debt, for university. Although eligibility is limited to families making under a modest income, students may benefit from aid that isn’t need-based (based on income). 

Filling out the FAFSA automatically permits you to apply for low-interest federal student loans. It’s also necessary for students’ parents to complete the form as well to accurately depict their income. Finally, students that don’t complete and submit a FAFSA form are less likely to graduate. 

So, is it the student or parent that’s responsible for ensuring accuracy? We’ll cover that in our next section. 

 

Who Fills Out FAFSA Information?

Who fills out FAFSA: student or parent? Students fill out the FAFSA for the most part, but there are a few instances in which a parent’s signature, information, and even FSA ID are required. 

If you’re a dependent student, you’ll need one parent to create an FSA ID in order to sign the application electronically. Remember, an FSA ID requires a Social Security Number (SSN). 

While you will be filling out the form as a student, you’ll need some of your parents’ information, including:

  • IRS 1040 or 1040 NR
  • Foreign Tax Return
  • Records of Untaxed Income
  • Cash, savings, and investments information

 

How to Complete FAFSA: Step-by-Step Guide

The preferred way to complete the FAFSA is outlined in the steps below:

Step 1: Review Your Deadline

Before applying, you should become aware of the FAFSA deadline well before you begin your application. Here are the deadlines to submit FAFSA and their corresponding academic years of study:

Application Available

Deadline

Year

October 1, 2020

June 30, 2022

2021 - 2022

October 1, 2021

June 30, 2023

2022 - 2023

October 1, 2022

June 30, 2024

2023 - 2024

 

Step 2: Gather Your Documents

The documents needed for the FAFSA depend on your dependency status and citizenship. Keep these required documents in mind as you fill out your form. 

Status

Documents Needed

Dependent US citizen or Non-US Citizen

Social Security card or number (for US Citizens)

Driver’s license

You and your parents’:

  • W-2 Forms
  • Income tax forms and tax return
  • Records of untaxed income
  • Investment and business records

Independent US Citizen

Social Security card or number

Driver’s license

Income tax return

W-2 Form

Bank statements in your name

Records of untaxed income

Independent non-US Citizen

Driver’s license

Income tax return

Untaxed income records 

W-2 form

Bank statements in your name

 

Not a US citizen, independent

  • Your driver’s license, if you have one.
  • Your previous year’s federal income tax return.
  • Records of any 2016 untaxed income.
  • Your previous year’s W-2 form.
  • Current statements from bank accounts in your name.

 

Step 3: Create an FSA ID

FSA ID

Your first step is to create an FSA ID. To create an account, you’ll need a social security number, mobile phone number, and email address, as well as other personal information like your name and date of birth. 

If parent information is required on your FAFSA, one of your parents will have to create an ID as well. 

 

Step 4: Input FAFSA Information

After creating an account, you might wonder: “where do I fill out FAFSA?”

You’ll find the FAFSA form webpage on the navigation bar, under “Applying for Aid” then “Filling Out the FAFSA Form.” Make sure you fill out the right form for the school year you need aid for (i.e. 2022-2023 vs 2021-2022). 

The site is pretty intuitive, as it will guide you to the FAFSA form to fill out. It requires information like:

  • Housing and medical 
  • Parents schooling
  • Degree of study
  • Financial information and Income tax 
  • Savings and investments
  • Children and child support

You’ll also need to fill out demographic information, such as your gender, ethnicity, marital status, and more. 

You must submit this information by June 30, 2023.

 

Step 5: Determine Dependency Status

Are you financially dependent on your parents? Then, you’ll most likely need to report your parents’ financial information. This section of the FAFSA will have you answer a few questions to identify whether you're an independent or dependent student. 

Step 6: Save Your Progress with a “Save Key”

If you don’t finish your application in one go, you’ll be prompted to create a save key towards the beginning of your application. This is a temporary password that allows you to save your work. 

Step 7: Select Schools to Receive Your FAFSA Application

Which colleges are you applying to? Select them and indicate that you’d like your FAFSA to be sent to them. You can add up to 10 schools at a time, and change them if you see fit. Some sources recommend that you list state schools first. 

Step 8: Submit Your FAFSA!

After you’ve compiled all the required information from you and your parents, you’re ready to review, sign, and submit!

 

FAFSA Eligibility Criteria 

Students are eligible for receiving financial aid from the government irrespective of age, race, or field of study. However, they must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • The student must be a citizen of the U.S. or an eligible non-citizen with a valid Social Security number.
  • Male students between the ages of 18-25 should be registered with U.S. Selective Service.
  • Financial aid received from FAFSA should mandatorily be used for educational purposes.
  • Not be in non-payment of any student loan or owe any money for any federal loans (Direct PLUS, Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans, etc.).
  • Any student receiving financial aid should not be found guilty of criminal activity.
  • The student should have a high school diploma or a General Education Development certificate or completed home school.
  • Should be enrolled as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program.
  • Have a valid social security number.
  • Maintain satisfactory academic results.

 

Tips for Completing the FAFSA

Before you submit your FAFSA, check out these tips to ensure you don’t make any common mistakes. 

  • Keep track of the deadline
  • Always use .gov resources for FAFSA applications, and the official FAFSA distributor does not charge a fee to apply
  • Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to easily upload tax information
  • Review your information before you submit
     

Conclusion

Now that you know how to do FAFSA applications, you can get started on gathering your information and documents to secure financial aid! If you have more questions beyond how to fill out FAFSA, consider reading our article about how long it takes to complete the FAFSA. 

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