The student and parent should each obtain an FSA ID before filing the FAFSA, so they can sign the online FAFSA electronically. Parental information is not required for students who are considered to be independent students.
File your federal income tax returns at least three weeks before filing the FAFSA (eight weeks if filing tax returns on paper) to enable use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool transfers income and tax information from your federal income tax returns into the FAFSA.
The EFC is used to calculate your financial need, which affects the amount of financial aid you will receive. The EFC is not the same as the amount you will pay or borrow for college, which is the net price.
Your FAFSA may be selected for verification, especially if you did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Respond to the verification requests promptly, as procrastination can lead to delays in the receipt of financial aid.
The college financial aid office may send you a financial aid award letter that lists the types and amounts of financial aid you will receive.
If your ability to pay for college is affected by special circumstances, such as changes in income since the prior-prior year or differences between your family’s financial situation and typical families, appeal for more financial aid.