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What You Need to Gather for Financial Aid Applications

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What You Need to Gather for Financial Aid Applications

Fall is on the way and the new season marks the beginning of college application season! The 2024-2025 FAFSA will be opening this December, instead of October (like usual). But we’re still encouraging families and students to start their prep work now! Many state and institutional financial aid deadlines come up quite early, and some financial aid forms have limited funding available. It will be critical that you’re able to complete your paperwork as soon as it opens. While December may seem far off, these last slow summer days are the perfect time to begin gathering everything you’ll need to complete your FAFSA and financial aid applications the moment they open!  

Here is the documentation you will need available so you can complete your financial aid applications: 

  • 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. It will also allow you to 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 2024–25 FAFSA form will ask for 2022 tax information. If you have already filed this form, that makes it easier to use the Federal Tax Information 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.

A Few Other Tips for Financial Aid Applications

Keep all of this information easily accessible to reference when it comes time to complete your financial aid application. It will not be necessary to submit any documents at this point of the process. But they may be required later for verification purposes, so don’t lose track of them.

If the financial situation for the student or family has changed significantly from what is reflected on your 2022 federal income tax return, you may be eligible to have your financial aid adjusted. You will still complete the financial aid application questions as instructed. Then, submit your forms. Afterwards, contact the schools on your list to discuss how your current financial situation has changed. 

The end of summer and early fall is also a great time to begin work on scholarship applications. This is a great way to find extra money to help cover your college costs. Some have deadlines as early as September, so be prepared to apply quickly! For more tips on scholarship searches, read our tips here and here! 

Who We Are

CFAA helps with the financial aid process, from completing the FAFSA and completing the CSS Profile to reviewing the SAR, responding to requests for verification, comparing financial aid offers and understanding student loan options. Schedule a 15 Minute Power Chat to learn more about finding ways to pay for college.


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