Apply for Aid

Getting Aid

Apply for Aid
Steps to application
  1. Getting an FSA ID
  2. Gathering the Documents Needed to Apply
  3. Starting Your FAFSA® and Providing Your Basic Personal Information
  4. Listing Colleges and/or Career Schools
  5. Determining Your Dependency Status
  6. Reporting Parents’ Information
  7. Providing Financial Information (Before or After Filing Taxes)
  8.  Determining When Tax Information Will Be Available Via the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT)
  9. Signing and Submitting the FAFSA
Create an FSA ID
As of May 2015, the Department of Education opted to replace the Personal Identification Number (PIN) with the Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID),  an electronic access identifier, which will give you access to the various Federal Student Aid online systems and can serve as your legal signature.

You can only create an FSA ID using your own personal information and for your own exclusive use. You are not authorized to create a FSA ID on behalf of someone else, including a family member. Misrepresentation of your identity to the federal government could result in criminal or civil penalties.
Using the FSA ID to "sign" your FAFSA application electronically will allow it to be completed entirely online and expedite the process rather than mailing a signature page. Your electronic signature holds the same legal status as a written signature. To protect the privacy of the information you are submitting, you must keep your FSA ID secret. If you have not created, or have lost or forgotten, or if you think someone else knows your FSA ID, you can create or reset your FSA ID at:
 You can use your FSA ID to:
  • File your FAFSA/Renewal FAFSA online
  • Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer income information from the IRS database to your FAFSA application
  • Sign your FAFSA electronically
  • View your processed information and access your Student Aid Report (SAR)
  • Make corrections to your application
  • Access the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) website and view information about other federal student aid you may have received and your Lifetime Eligibility Usage percentage
  • Complete various Federal Direct Loan processes;
    • Electronically sign a Master Promissory Note
    • Entrance Counseling
    • Exit Counseling
Gathering the Documents Needed to Apply
To complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) application, you will be required to provide information such as, legal name, social security number, date of birth, address, etc., and your financial situation.
For a complete list of documents required to complete both applications, please refer to the link below: (insert link—what I need to complete my FA app)
Determining Your Dependency Status
The federal student aid programs are based on the concept that it is primarily your and your family’s responsibility to pay for your education. And because a dependent student is assumed to have the support of parents, the parents’ information has to be assessed along with the student’s, in order to get a full picture of the family’s financial strength. If you’re a dependent student, it doesn’t mean your parents are required to pay anything toward your education; this is just a way of looking at everyone in a consistent manner.

How do I know if I am a dependent or an independent student?
These questions are used to determine, whether you are a dependent or an independent student for the FALL 2015 - SPRING 2016 (July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016) academic year.
  • Were you born before January 1, 1992?
  • As of today, are you married?
  • At the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, will you be working on a master's or doctorate program?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  • Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1st 2015 and June 30th 2016?
  • Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than have of their support from you, now and through June 30th 2016?
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
  • Are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  • Are you or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  • At any time on or after July 2014, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  • At any time on or after July 2014, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  • At any time on or after July 2014, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
Refer to this link for a visual chart regarding the above questions
As per Federal Student Aid regulations, you are considered a DEPENDENT student unless you can answer "yes" to at least one of the above questions. If you are considered a dependent student, in order to process your financial aid application, must provide your and your parent(s) information regardless:
  • if you do not live with your parent(s),
  • if your parent(s) does not live in the United States,
  • if your parent(s) income was earned in U.S. currency or not, if your parent(s) does not provide you with financial support, if your parent(s) did not claim you on their tax return, and
  • if your parent(s) does not file taxes,
*If you have a special or unusual circumstance that prevents you from providing parental information on your FAFSA application, speak to a Financial Aid counselor.

Common FAFSA Errors
Making a mistake on the FAFSA can delay the processing of your application, because it takes an additional 2-3 weeks to process a corrected application.  Some of the common errors are outlined below:
  • Inputting Incorrect Information
    • Legal Name
    • Social Security Number
    • Date of Birth
    • Alien Registration number if you are not a U.S. Citizen
  • Not Providing Parental Information
  • Not Providing Correct Marital Status
  • Not Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
  • Not answering all questions on the FAFSA
  • Not Signing the FAFSA