FAFSA Process

The FAFSA is used by U.S. citizens and permanent residents to apply for need-based aid (grants, loans, work-study). It will determine if you qualify for College, state and federal government funds.

For the 2015-2016 FAFSA: if you want to use the IRS DRT (Data Retrieval Tool) to document your/your parents’ 2014 income, watch this video or print this .pdf with step-by-step instructions.


We recommend that you complete the FAFSA …
  • if cost will be factor in your enrollment
  • even if you do not think you will qualify
  • even if have not yet been admitted to a College.
  • even if you have not completed your tax return 
  • General Notes about the FAFSA:

    • The web address is www.fafsa.gov.
    • Our Federal School Code is 001706.
    • The FAFSA is not required if you are applying only for scholarships.
    • Applications received late will be accepted, but available funding may be less.

The Process:
  • Go to www.fafsa.gov and log in.
  • Choose 2015-2016 to receive funds from August ’15 to May ’16
  • Beginning January 1, 2016, you choose 2016-2017 for the academic year running from August ’16 to May ’17.
  • Do not leave any question blank unless instructed to do so.
  • If you have nothing to report for a financial question, enter $0.    
  • Questions with “you” or “your” always refer to the student applying for financial aid.
  • Step 5 – Financial Information: this step tends to have more questions and/or errors, so we encourage you to watch this video clip (8 min 30 sec) to help insure proper completion
  • If your tax return is not completed, it may be appropriate to begin with your latest tax return, and make adjustments for known differences that took place (pay raises, investment income, business/rental income, etc.).  You may correct/update the FAFSA once your tax return is done.
  • Sign the FAFSA with the FSA ID (student / parent each needs one).
  • You must click “Submit My FAFSA Now.” Print the confirmation page. If you don’t see a confirmation page, your FAFSA has not been submitted.

What Happens Next:
  • The federal student aid processing center will send an email confirming that your FAFSA was received.
  • A few days later, an email will tell you that your FAFSA has been processed, and will provide a link to a “Student Aid Report” (SAR) which summarizes your application. Review this for accuracy.
  • Create a file folder to keep all financial aid documents (ID #s, FSA IDs, confirmation pages, SAR, etc.).
  • Our office will receive your FAFSA results two days after it is processed.
  • If you have been admitted to the College, we will prepare a statement showing all financial aid you qualify to receive. This Award Letter” is sent by email to you and your parent, and also by regular mail. Be sure to review the page “How to Read Your Award Letter” for details!
  • Provide any documentation we require, listed in Part 4 (pg 2) of the award letter. Many are found here. Most can be scanned/emailed, faxed or mailed. See “Contact” in the column on the right.

Need Help With Your FAFSA?
  • use the online help available from each page of the FAFSA site
  • call the Federal Student Aid Info Center 800-433-3243 / 319-337-5665
  • review the links under “Helpful Tools” in the column on the right
  • call the Office of Financial Aid 800-828-4751 or 847-735-5010