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College Planning Blog

7 FAFSA Musts from the Department of Education

by Dan Farnesi on September 29, 2017 in FAFSA

There are several important things to know before filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form for the 2018-19 school year. The filing period runs from Oct. 1, 2017, to June 30, 2019, and here’s what students (and in some cases, parents) will need in order to complete the process, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Education’s website:


  1. Your FSA ID

To initiate the FAFSA process, each student and one parent (if the student is a dependent) will need an FSA ID. Go to the Department of Education link to get started.


  1. Your Social Security Number

If the student is a dependent, one parent will also have to provide a social security number.


  1. Your Driver’s License Number

Disregard this tip if you don’t have a driver’s license.


  1. Your 2016 Tax Records

This also applies to parents of dependent students. It’s important to note that you cannot use 2017 tax information.


  1. Records of Untaxed Income

This also applies to parents of dependent students, and it refers to things like interest income. Here’s more detailed information for parents and students.


  1. Records of Your Assets (Money)

Again, this also applies to parents of dependent students. It includes the value of investments such as stocks, bonds and real estate (except the home where your family lives), as well as the balances of cash, of savings and of checking accounts. In this particular case, what you report should be current to the date you sign your FAFSA form. Here’s information for students  and parents on what are and aren’t considered to be investments.


  1. A List of the School(s) You Are Interested in Attending

Make certain to include all your schools, regardless of whether you’ve applied yet or been accepted.


For more details, go to the Department of Education link.


Partners For Achievement’s FAFSA Advice

All these tips from the U.S. Department of Education are good, especially the first one. Please establish your FSA IDs now so that you are ready to go on Oct. 1. Something else to keep in mind is that it’s important to file as soon as possible after Oct. 1. In fact, some schools provide special grants for students who file early. Finally, if you’re not sure whether you should file FAFSA because you make a lot of money or have a lot of assets, go ahead and file anyway. There are at least three good reasons to do so:

  1. If there is any potential that you will need student loans, you need to file.
  2. Don’t assume you won’t qualify for aid because of your income. Each school looks at things differently, and you may qualify for aid even if you think you won’t.
  3. Some schools may be more welcoming if you have significant income/assets. We have seen students go from the wait list to acceptance after completing FAFSA.

—Dan Farnesi, executive vice president of Partners For Achievement




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