FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
Seniors and their families may apply for the FAFSA after October 1!
Preparation is the key to successfully completing and filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the application for state, federal and college-specific financial aid. Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for need-based financial aid, you should complete the FAFSA to qualify for low-interest student and parent loans.
Always contact the college(s) you applied to and ask for their FAFSA priority filing date. Because some types of financial aid are awarded first-come, first-served, it’s important that you submit the FAFSA before that date.
Follow these steps to complete the FAFSA:
Step 1: Request a FSA ID
An FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. Your FSA ID identifies you as someone who has the right to access your own personal information on ED websites such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) at fafsa.gov.
If you are a senior preparing for college and if you are a parent of a dependent student, you will need your own FSA ID if you want to sign your child’s FAFSA electronically. If you have more than one child attending college, you can use the same FSA ID to sign all applications. Please note: Each FSA ID user must have a unique e-mail address.
Step 2: Complete your taxes early
Even though you don’t have to submit your taxes early, you should complete them early because colleges prefer current tax information on the FAFSA.
Step 3: Gather the following student and parent items
- Current federal income tax forms and, if applicable, Schedule K-1 (Form 1065)
- Current W-2 forms and, if applicable, Unemployment Form 1099-G
- Student’s driver’s license number
- Social Security numbers
- Birth dates
- Date parents were married, separated, divorced or widowed
- Current cash, savings and checking account balances
- Business or investment farm value
- Current investment values (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs, etc.) excluding your home and retirement accounts
- Current child support (paid and/or received)
- Current Workers’ Compensation
- Housing/food/ living allowances for military and clergy
- Student Alien Registration Number for eligible non-citizens
- Veteran’s noneducation benefits
- Be prepared to answer the following FAFSA question:
- Did you or anyone in your household receive any of the following federal benefits?
- Supplemental Security Income
- Food Stamps
- Free or Reduced Price Lunch
Step 4: Complete and file the FAFSA
Complete and file the FAFSA at fafsa.gov. The colleges you list on the application will receive the results. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the application for federal, state and most college-based financial aid which can include grants, work-study and student loans. Submit the FAFSA after January 1 to apply for aid for the following academic year – and apply before your college’s priority date to get the best financial aid package.
If you’re filing the FAFSA for the first time and need help completing the form, call the EducationQuest location nearest you to set up an appointment. Call the Lincoln Office at 402-475-5222 OR 800-303-3745. All services are free. EducationQuest also offers the FAFSA Tools as free resources for students and parents who are completing the FAFSA.
- “FAFSA Demo” provides an overview of the FAFSA form.
- “FAFSA Made Easy” video demonstrates that the FAFSA isn’t as difficult as it seems.
- FAFSA Checklist provides a list of items to gather before completing the FAFSA.
- FAFSA Tutorial explains each FAFSA question.
- The FAFSA includes an IRS Data Retrieval Process that allows online FAFSA filers to pull specific tax return data directly from the Internal Revenue Service.
- For free help completing the FAFSA, students should call the EducationQuest location nearest them to make an appointment or to receive help over the phone. Lincoln (800.303.3745)
- Expect a Student Aid Report acknowledging that your form was processed.
- Expect Financial Aid Award Notifications in the spring from the colleges you listed on your FAFSA. The notifications will detail the assistance the colleges are offering (could be a combination of scholarships, grants, work-study and student loans).
- Apply for student and parent loans (if necessary) in the summer through your college.