Helpful Tips to Complete Your FAFSA® Application
A college education may be more affordable than you think. The Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is open for the 2023-2024 school year—but the time to act is now to ensure you get the most aid.
Why should you complete the FAFSA?
The FAFSA is your gateway to applying for federal aid which opens up opportunities for institutional financial aid and can open the doors to consideration for scholarships and other aid. Here are the top reasons why you should complete the FAFSA today:
- Filing your FAFSA sooner can mean more money for college, including access to state grant programs awarded on a first come, first served basis.
- The federal government provides students with more than $120 billion each year in grants, loans and work-study to assist them in paying for college or a career institution. This provides the opportunity to afford the college education and career you’ve been dreaming about.
- Applying is required for scholarship consideration, even if you believe you won’t qualify for federal aid.
- The application is simple to fill out and gives you tips along the way to understand the questions. Plus, it’s free!
Important deadlines for completing the FAFSA application
Enrollment for the 2023-2024 school year began on October 1, 2022. Students who plan on attending a four-year college, university, community college or career school are encouraged to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible in order to improve their chances of qualifying for the most aid.
Students seeking financial aid who are currently enrolled in the 2022-2023 school year have until June 30, 2023, to complete their FAFSA applications.
What you will need to start the application process
Preparation is key before you begin the application process. For purposes of applying for federal student aid, the FAFSA lists questions about you and your finances to determine whether you are a dependent or independent student. If you are applying as a dependent, your parents’ information as well as yours will be required. If you are an independent, only your information is required. You can learn more about how to determine your dependency status here.
Here is a list of necessary items you will need to collect before you begin the application:
- Your social security number (or alien registration number if you are not a US citizen)
- Your parents’ social security numbers if you are filing as a dependent student
- Your driver’s license number if you have one
- All 2021 federal tax information, tax documents or tax returns, including IRS W-2 information for you (and your spouse, if you are married) and for your parents if you are a dependent student:
- IRS Form 1040
- Foreign tax return or IRS Form 1040-NR
- Tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia or Palau
- Records of untaxed income (such as child support, interest income and veterans noneducation benefits for you and for your parents if you are a dependent student)
- Cash, savings, checking account balances
- Investments other than the home in which you live
It’s alright if you don’t have all the information at hand. The FAFSA application allows you to save your information along the way. Missing information may be entered once you have it. Just don’t wait too long. Some states and institutions have limited funds and set their own priority deadlines. The sooner you submit your application, the sooner you’ll know if you qualify for aid.
You or your parents are strongly encouraged to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) which automatically—and accurately—transfers tax information into the FAFSA form. Just be sure you enter the requested information exactly as it appears on your tax return.
Creating your FAFSA ID account
It is highly recommended that you create an account prior to filling out the application. You will be asked to create an FSA ID—which is comprised of a username and password combination that will give you access to important online information and allow you to electronically sign your FAFSA and any promissory notes. Here’s more information on how to create an FSA ID (or if you forgot your username).
The system is sensitive to the way you enter your name and social security information. To avoid running into issues during the verification process, be sure to enter your information exactly as it appears on your social security card.
Parents of dependent students are required to create their own FSA ID so that they can electronically sign the application. For parents who do not have a social security number (SSN)—which is required to create an FSA ID—the student will select the option to print the signature page when he or she reaches the end of the application.
Now that you—and if necessary, your parents—have created your FSA ID, you can start filling out your FAFSA application here.
If you don’t have access to a computer, here are other submission options:
- Mail-in application: Request a printed PDF by calling 1-800-433-3243.
- Electronic submission by your college or career school: Request if the FAFSA can be submitted for you.
Interested in attending Vaughn College? We can help you complete your FAFSA application
Contact a Vaughn representative to help you with your application:
- Email and one of our financial aid representatives will set up a time to contact you.
- Phone: 718.429.6600, Ext. 100; someone will get back to you within 24 hours.
- In-person office hours: Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- The Financial Aid Zoom Room (Meeting ID: 678 686 441)
- Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesdays, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
How Vaughn helps students graduate with careers
Vaughn offers federal, state and institutional funds to help students pay for their education. In fact, 90 percent of our students are eligible for some type of financial aid, with the average package totaling more than $15,000 per year. We are dedicated to working with all qualifying students to help them get the assistance they need to not only pursue their education, but graduate with their desired career.
Here are other ways to get help with your FAFSA application
- Contact the guidance department at your high school – their job is to help you complete your college applications.
- Many communities offer free services and resources to assist you with completing your FAFSA – contact your local chamber of commerce or governing body for details.
- Contact the financial aid office of the college you plan on attending.
- Check out this FAFSA process graphic.
- Use the “tool tip” on the online FAFSA application, which will give you information on how to answer any questions. Simply select the white question mark next to each question you’re unsure of.
- Visit the FAFSA Help page on the online application.
Don’t let the cost of a college education get in the way of pursuing your dream career. Vaughn offers degree programs in engineering, technology, management and aviation. Discover the possibilities of where a futureproof degree from Vaughn can take you.