If you’re a college-bound senior, you and your parents will need to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)-the application for state, federal and college-based financial aid.
It’s important to complete and submit the form before your college’s FAFSA priority date because financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. If you don’t know your college’s priority date, contact the school’s financial aid office.
Note: The FAFSA application opens on October 1. Students can now complete the FAFSA early using their parents tax information from the previous year.
Follow these steps to complete the FAFSA
Step 1: Create your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID)
Both the student and one parent will need to create a FSA ID. Go to: http://fsaid.ed.gov. The FSA ID is a username and password that you create to access the FAFSA and federal student loan sites. You and your parent will need a personal email address, do not use your school email. You will also need your SS#, birthdate, and address. Keep track of this ID as you will use it each year while in college.
Step 2: Gather these student and parent items:
• Federal income tax forms and, if applicable, Schedule K-1 (Form 1065)
• W-2 forms
• 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
• Current investment values (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs, etc.) excluding your home and retirement accounts
• Value of business (if more than 100 employees)
• Value of investment farm (Do not include the value of a family farm that you or your parents live on and operate)
• Child support (paid and/or received)
• Workers’ Compensation
• Other untaxed income such as housing/food/ living allowances for military and clergy
• Alien Registration Number for eligible non-citizens
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
*TANF- Free or Reduced Price Lunch* WIC
Step 3: Complete and file the FAFSA
Complete and file the FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The colleges you list on the application will receive the results.
If you’re filing the FAFSA for the first time and need help completing the form, call the Education Quest location nearest you to set up an appointment. Call the Kearney office at 800-666-3721, Lincoln at 800-303-3745 or Omaha at 888-357-6300. All services are free.
Free online FAFSA tools (listed below) are also available at https://www.educationquest.org/resources/fafsa-tools/
Some of the tools include:
• FAFSA Checklist–provides a list of items needed to complete the FAFSA
• FAFSA Tutorial–explains each FAFSA question
• Financial Aid Information Videos and the College Funding Estimator