Each year in September, high school seniors start thinking about one of the most misunderstood aspects of applying to college – filing the FAFSA. Even though this form can open the door to federal, state and institutional financial aid, there is so much pressure associated with the process that it becomes a chore instead of an opportunity.
Based on these concerns, the Department of Education is working to simplify the application. Unfortunately for this year’s applicants, however, the process remains much the same. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what needs to be accomplished for the 2022-23 FAFSA:
Get Ready to Complete the FAFSA
- One step to take now is to obtain your FSA ID. This is a username and password that provide access to Department of Education information. Both parent and student must have one.
- Take a look at the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet. This offers a preview of the questions you may be asked while completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid online at fafsa.gov or via the myStudentAid mobile app, but does not include all the questions. When you complete the actual FAFSA online, you may be able to skip some questions based on your answers to earlier questions. Also take a look at the table for state deadlines and note the one that applies to you.
- Study the draft for the actual FAFSA form. Although there may be some changes by October 1, this is pretty close to what you will see.
- Learn about the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This number determines a student’s eligibility for certain types of federal student aid. It is calculated based on EFC formulas, which use information students provide on the FAFSA. Financial aid administrators subtract the EFC from the cost of attendance to determine a student’s need for federal student financial aid assistance.
Changes on the 2022–23 FAFSA Form
- Users will be able to select their specific role – student, parent, or preparer – before beginning the FAFSA.
- For students and parents not using the IRS Digital Retrieval Tool, Schedule 1 help topics will be updated to include all current exceptions for filing a Schedule 1. “Virtual Currency” will be removed as an exception.
- Registration status with Selective Service no longer affects students’ eligibility to receive federal student aid. However, students can still register through the FAFSA form.
Completing the FAFSA
Use this handy infographic to get a little insight into the FAFSA process. Be aware that some schools won’t consider you for merit scholarships, those based on academic achievement or other talents or skills, until you’ve submitted a FAFSA, so complete one even if you think you won’t qualify for federal aid. Some points to keep in mind when completing the FAFSA:
- Remember that it is the student who is completing the application. When parent information is required, it is clearly identified.
- Students and parents who have filed their 2020 federal tax return may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to securely, easily, and accurately transfer their tax information into the FAFSA form.
- Be sure to include up to ten colleges to receive your financial information. If there are more, they can be added later.
- Your FSA ID allows you to electronically sign your FAFSA form. If you are a dependent student providing parent information, one parent must also sign the FAFSA form.
- Federal Student Aid provides free help online at fafsa.gov or you can call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
Most students are eligible to receive financial aid from the federal government to help pay for college or career school. Your age, race, or field of study do not affect your eligibility for federal student aid. While income is taken into consideration, it does not automatically preclude federal student aid eligibility.
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.