Many schools require a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form be completed before you can receive or apply for scholarships. WSU uses the FAFSA to determine eligibility for scholarships that take financial need into consideration. The FAFSA needs to be completed every year! Here are some tips to consider:
- Complete a FAFSA. The FAFSA form doesn’t take much time to complete and could lead to thousands of dollars to help pay for college.
- Complete a FAFSA before the January 31 priority date at WSU. Applications filed by the priority date will receive first consideration. The earlier you file your FAFSA, the more options for aid you will have.
- Complete a FAFSA even if you miss the priority date. If you miss the priority date, you can still apply; some form of aid is usually available no matter when you file the FAFSA.
- Get your FSA (Federal Student Aid) ID BEFORE you complete the FAFSA.When you register for an FSA ID, you may need to wait up to three days before you can use it, and you need it to sign your FAFSA form electronically.
- Use your FSA ID to start your FAFSA. When you do, some of your personal information (name, Social Security number, date of birth, etc.) can be automatically loaded into your application. This helps to prevent a common error that occurs when your verified FSA ID information doesn’t match the information on your FAFSA form.
- Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. It’s the fastest, most accurate way to enter your tax return information into the FAFSA.
- Read definitions carefully. Read each definition and each question carefully; sometimes the FAFSA is looking for very specific information that may not be obvious.
- Avoid common errors. Confusing parent information with student information: When the FAFSA says “you” or “your,” it’s referring to the student, so make sure to enter the student’s information. If the form is asking for a parent’s information, it will specify that in the question.
Entering information that doesn’t match your FSA ID: To avoid delays, triple check that you have entered your information correctly. A typo entering your name or mixing up parent and student information will cause an error message and delay verification.
- Report ALL of the required information. Even if your student fully supports themselves, pays their own bills, and files their own taxes, they may still be considered a dependent student for federal student aid purposes. If so, parent information must be provided on the FAFSA. Dependency guidelines for the FAFSA are determined by Congress and are different from those of the IRS.
- List ALL of the colleges your student is interested in. Your student can include up to 10 schools on the FAFSA. Unless your student is only applying to one college, they should include any school they are considering. There is a handy tool to look up school codes. WSU’s School Code: 003800
- Sign the FAFSA. Many students answer every question but fail to actually sign the FAFSA form with their FSA ID and submit it. Your student will need to have their FSA ID handy so they can sign their FAFSA, and parent(s) will need to sign with the parent FSA ID. Check your FAFSA status after you file to ensure that you remembered to sign!