Prepare for the FAFSA

  • Gather Your Documents - 2016 Tax Returns required!

    Before you begin the FAFSA, gather the necessary paperwork. Having the right information on hand makes completing the FAFSA easier.

     

    From the FAFSA.gov website:

    "To complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), dependent students will need:

    • Your Social Security Number
    • Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
    • Your 2016 federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned. (Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)
    • Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
    • Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
    • An FSA ID to sign electronically.

     

    There are very few circumstances where a student is considered an independent student. See the information below, and then you will have to visit the Financial Adi department at your post-secondary institution to have them assist you with completing the FAFSA if you feel you meet an independent student status.

     

    From the FAFSA.gov website for dependent student status:

    "If you can answer Yes to any of the following questions, you are considered an independent student on the 2016-2017 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and you generally will not need to provide your parents’ information.
    (Note: Students in professionals schools may be required to provide parental information regardless of their dependency status.)

    However, if you can answer No to all of the following questions, you are considered a dependent student.  Your parent will need to provide parental information on your FAFSA:

    • Were you born before January 1, 1993?
    • As of today are you married?
    • At the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, or graduate certificate, etc.)?
    • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
    • Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
    • Do you now have or will you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017?
    • Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2017?
    • At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
    • As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you an emancipated minor?
    • Does someone other than your parent or stepparent have legal guardianship of you, as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
    • At any time on or after July 1, 2015, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
    • At any time on or after July 1, 2015, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
    • At any time on or after July 1, 2015, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?

    If you have a special circumstance that prevents you from providing parental information, you may still be able to submit your FAFSA. However, your FAFSA will be considered incomplete. You must contact the financial office at your college and provide them with documentation to verify your situation. For more information, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/fafsa/filling-out#are-your-parents-unwilling."

     

    From the FAFSA.gov website for Who is Considered a Parent to Fill Out the FAFSA with a Student:

    "A legal parent includes a biological or adoptive parent, or a person that the state has determined to be your parent (for example, when a state allows another person’s name to be listed as a parent on a birth certificate). Grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers or sisters, widowed stepparents, and aunts and uncles are not considered parents unless they have legally adopted you.

    Use the table below to determine whose information to provide on the FAFSA based on your parents’ marital status."

    Parents’ Marital Status: Provide Information for:
    Never Married The parent that you lived with most during the last 12 months. If you did not live with one parent more than the other, provide information about the parent who provided more financial support during the last 12 months, or during the most recent year that you actually received support from a parent.
    Unmarried and both parents living together Both of your parents
    Married Both of your parents
    Remarried (after being widowed or divorced) Parent and Stepparent
    Divorced or Separated The parent that you lived with most during the last 12 months. If you did not live with one parent more than the other, provide information about the parent who provided more financial support during the last 12 months, or during the most recent year that you actually received support from a parent.
    Widowed Your parent