Completing the FAFSA

It is important to file the "Free" Application for Federal Student Aid FAFSA each year. The student will be considered for many institutional and most federal aid programs after completing the FAFSA. Additionally, some scholarships will ask for information from the student's FAFSA during the application process.

Before Starting

The following points are important to remember when completing the FAFSA:

  • The official FAFSA website is Remember, the first F in "FAFSA" stands for "free" -- so use the official Federal site to submit your application
  • File annually between January 1 and March 1 for the student to be considered for eligibility in priority aid programs with limited funding
  • Students who file after March 1 will still be considered for financial aid based on remaining available funds Note: Federal Pell grants and Federal Stafford and PLUS Loans are not limited fund programs and are always available based on student eligibility

Documents to have Available

  • The student Social Security Number (SSN), and the parent SSN(s), if the student is dependent
  • The student Driver's License, if available
  • The student alien registration or permanent resident card (if the student is not a U.S. citizen)

Items listed below will be required for the student and parent (if the student is dependent). If the student is married, these same items will be required of the spouse.

2016 - 2017

  • 2015 wage & income information (for the 2016-2017 FAFSA), including but not limited to; w-2's, other income statements and/or federal IRS tax returns; 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, Puerto Rico 1040
  • If your taxes aren't filed by March 1st, don't panic --- The FAFSA will allow estimated income information to be entered initially -- the Student/Parent tax filing status and final tax values can be updated at a later date, through the process of a FAFSA correction, once taxes have been filed
  • Current bank statements
  • Current business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bond, and other investment records

Filling Out the FAFSA

  • Read the instructions carefully. The words "you" and "your" always refer to the student, whereas questions for parents will be specified
  • Dependent students are required to provide information on their Legal Parents
  • Always round to the nearest dollar, and do not use use commas or decimal points
  • When asked to list school codes, Iowa State University's School Code is 001869
  • Use a Currency Converter to report the value of foreign income in U.S. dollars
  • List an email address checked frequently as you will receive communication at this address from FAFSA and ISU
  • For 2015-2016 step-by-step guide, follow these 7 easy steps to filling out the FAFSA.
  • For 2016-2017 step-by-step guide, follow these 7 easy steps to filling out the FAFSA
  • Follow these simple steps to transfer tax information into your FAFSA

What to Expect After Submitting a FAFSA

  • Always keep a copy of the submission confirmation page for your personal records, as well as a copy of the Student Aid Report (SAR) that will be emailed to you as a follow-up to submitting a FAFSA
  • Iowa State University (ISU) will send an email to the student, and parent of a dependent student, using the email address(s) indicated on the FAFSA to acknowledge receipt of the student's FAFSA information
  • This email correspondence will provide the student with details regarding any action required on their part in order for ISU to process their FAFSA information. As this information is utilized in the development of a student's financial aid award, providing requested documentation in a timely manner will be of ultimate benefit to the student