5 Tips for Completing the 2019–2020 FAFSA
There is money 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 and is used by all schools to award federal and state financial aid which includes federal student loans. Many schools also use the FAFSA to award 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 will use to access 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 to create an FSA ID to sign the FAFSA. We strongly recommend getting FSA IDs ahead of time. Each FSA ID takes about 10 minutes to create.
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. The website was recently updated with a new look with the following homepage.
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 In-Person 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 will be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT). If presented with the opportunity to use the IRS DRT, please do so--it will ensure that your tax information is accurate and make the rest of the process easier. Have a copy of your 2017 federal tax return handy when completing the FAFSA, so that you can enter your address exactly as it appears on your 2017 tax return. For privacy protection, the data transferred will not be visible (except to the schools) and fields will be updated to say, “Transferred from the IRS.” Your 2017 wages will not transfer from the IRS, so be sure you have your 2017 W2s available.
5. File your FAFSA every year
You must file the FAFSA each year to be considered for financial aid. After the first year, filing the FAFSA is even easier as much of your information will be carried forward and will only need to be updated.
Want More Information?
Join us for this month's FREE Wednesday Webinar:
What You Need to Know to File the 2019-2020 FAFSA
Wednesday, October 10th
10:00–11:00 a.m.

We'll review the FAFSA section by section, with a focus on the questions that provide the biggest challenge for students. Learn what's new, what's improved, and how to answer the questions students and families are likely 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:

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