October 2020
5 Tips for Completing the 2021-2022 FAFSA
Money is available to help pay for education after high school, but you have to apply for financial aid. All students should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA becomes available each year on October 1. All schools use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for federal financial aid and the Maine State Grant, and many schools also use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for their institutional financial aid. Here are five tips to help you file the FAFSA:
1. Get an FSA ID now.
The FSA ID is the user name and password students need to access and use all Federal Student Aid websites, including FAFSA.gov. All students need an FSA ID. If parent information is required on the FAFSA, one parent will also need his or her own FSA ID to sign the FAFSA. We recommend that individuals create their Federal Student Aid account and set up their FSA ID ahead of time. When setting up FSA IDs, individuals must have the ability to receive a text on their mobile phone and/or have access to email.
Use FAME's FSA ID Information Tracking Sheet to keep track of your FSA ID information.
2. File your FAFSA at FAFSA.gov.
This is the official FAFSA website and the only place you should go to file your FAFSA.
Filing the FAFSA is FREE! Don't pay to file the FAFSA or use any other website to file your FAFSA.
Need help filing your FAFSA? Plan to attend one of FAME's Virtual FAFSA Help Sessions.
3. List at least one school on your FAFSA.
When filing the FAFSA, at least one school must be listed in the School Selection section. We recommend listing any school that you are even potentially interested in attending (up to 10 schools). Additional schools can be added later by going back into the FAFSA at FAFSA.gov and adding (or replacing) a school in the School Selection section.
4. Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
When filing the FAFSA, most parents and students who filed federal taxes in 2019 will be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT). This tool allows individuals to link to the IRS website and pull tax data directly into the FAFSA, answering many of the income questions for you. If given the option of using the IRS DRT, please do so--it will ensure that your tax information is accurate and make the rest of the process easier. Be sure you have a copy of your 2019 federal tax return in front of you when completing the FAFSA as you’ll need to enter your address exactly as it appears on your return when using IRS DRT. 
5. Follow up with your school(s) if financial circumstances have changed.
The 2021-2022 FAFSA requires 2019 income information. This is the case even if 2019 information does not reflect your family’s current financial situation. However, if 2019 income was substantially higher than current income, we recommend following up with each school you’ve applied to for financial aid. Share your family’s current financial situation and ask whether a financial aid appeal is possible. Learn more about the financial aid appeals process here
Do you work with students and want more information to help them file their FAFSAs?
Join us for this month's FREE Wednesday Webinar:

What You Need to Know to Help Students File the 2021-2022 FAFSA

Wednesday, October 14, 2020
1:00–2:30 p.m.

It’s almost FAFSA time! The 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be available beginning October 1. During this webinar, we’ll share new information about the FSA ID and then review the FAFSA section by section, with a focus on the questions that provide the biggest challenges for students. Participants will learn what’s new, what’s improved, and how to answer the questions students and families to ask when completing this year’s FAFSA.
For additional helpful information and resources, find previous issues of 5 on the 5th on our website.

FAME's College Access and Financial Education Team:

Mary Dyer, Financial Education Officer
Maria MacDougal, College Access Counselor
Floreka Malual, College Planning Advisor
Nikki Vachon, College Access Counselor
Jessica Whittier, College Access Counselor
Mila Tappan, College Access and Outreach Manager
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