The new FAFSA will be available before you know it. Here are some tips to help you get prepared so you won’t be scrambling at the last minute.
- Know what tax documents are needed. If you’re submitting financial aid paperwork for the 2019-2020 school year, the FAFSA will ask for your filed 2017 taxes and income. You’ll need to reference your 1040/A/EZ and also your 2017 W-2s.
- If you haven’t filed your most recent taxes yet, in an upcoming post I will be covering what you should do.
- Have your student(s) tax and income documents handy as well. All of the same income information will be required from students, too!
- Make sure you have everyone’s updated contact and personal information. Addresses, emails, and Social Security Numbers are required for each parent and each student that files a FAFSA.
- Note: this can be especially important if you have recently moved, file taxes in a different state, or if a student’s state/residence is different from his or her parent(s).
- Have estimated calculations for your current assets. It’s good to know which assets are included on the FAFSA and which are not – I will also be covering this, in some detail, in my upcoming posts.
- Fill out a FAFSA worksheet. If you’re filing your FAFSA on your own, it’s a good idea to have all of the necessary information in one place before you begin a new form.
- For security purposes, the FAFSA website times you out after inactivity (and may not necessarily save all of your work), and it is also extremely difficult to process any changes to your information once the initial FAFSA has been submitted.
- Update your family’s FSA IDs. At least one parent (that is included on the FAFSA) and all students need their own FSA username and password. The passwords expire every 18 months, so it’s better to update those now. Then you can access any FSA websites for the full year without any problems.
The time is now to get prepared! Follow these steps and you should be in good shape when FAFSA season creeps up on us.
– Hope Santos, PES Financial Aid Director