The financial aid application season is soon to be upon us! The FAFSA and CSS Profile applications for the 2022-23 academic year are both scheduled to be available online beginning October 1, 2021. I highly recommend that you complete and submit these applications as early as possible. State and institutional financial aid deadlines come up quite early, and some financial aid forms have limited funding available. You don’t want to miss out on any potential resources by not getting your application in quickly and correctly.
That pretty much gives you the month of September to get everything together. Here is the documentation you will need available so you can complete your financial aid applications without having to hunt all over:
- Login Information: You can set up your account log-in information now. For the FAFSA you will need an FSA ID. This is a username and password combination that will allow you to log-in, sign your FAFSA electronically, access the myStudentAid app, sign loan contracts, and access certain information online. The student and at least one parent of a dependent student must each have their own FSA ID. For the CSS Profile you will be able to use your College Board student account, which you may have already completed for the SAT or AP tests. If you need to complete the CSS Profile as a parent (as a noncustodial parent, for example), you will then need to create a student account using the parent’s information.
- Social Security numbers for student and parents of a dependent student.
- Student’s driver’s license number if you have one.
- Alien Registration number, if you are not a citizen of the United States.
- Federal tax information or tax returns including IRS W-2 information, for student and parents. The 2022–23 FAFSA form will ask for 2020 tax information. If you have already filed this form, that makes it easier to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to populate answers to many questions on the FAFSA.
- Records of untaxed income, such as child support received, interest income, and veterans’ non-education benefits, for student and parents.
- Information on cash; savings and checking account balances; investments, including stocks and bonds and real estate (but not including the home in which you live); and business and farm assets for student and parents.
- List of colleges you are applying to this fall.
- The CSS Profile may also ask for dates or custody information in cases of a parental separation or divorce.
- The FAFSA is free, but be prepared to provide payment information for the CSS Profile, unless you have received a waiver.
Keep this information easily accessible for reference when it comes time to complete your financial aid application. It will not be necessary to submit any documents at this point, but they may be required later for verification purposes, so don’t lost track of them.
If the financial situation for the student or family has changed significantly from what is reflected on your 2020 federal income tax return, you may be eligible to have your financial aid adjusted. This might apply to COVID-related loss of income, natural disaster, death or medical emergency. You will still complete the financial aid application questions as instructed, submit your forms, and then contact the schools on your list to discuss how your current financial situation has changed.
Another activity you may need to prepare for quickly is scholarship applications. This is a great way to find extra money to help cover your college costs, but that application season is also here. Some have deadlines as early as September, so be prepared to apply quickly.
CFAA is here to help with every step of the financial aid process Set up a CFAA new client free strategy session to learn more about finding ways to pay for college. To get the latest financial aid information and college application to-do lists, look for my weekly JustAskJodi emails and check out my monthly CFAA e-newsletter.