The FAFSA form has 7 steps, some for the student and some for the parent(s). Depending on your situation such as age, degree type, marital status, etc., the parent sections may not apply to you. This is an overview of all the sections and required information. You should pay attention to what is relevant to you. For the most part I will be reviewing what information you need to gather to fill out the forms but will also list decisions you need to make.
For step 1 you will need your social security number, driver's license, and (for non-US citizens) your Alien Registration Number. This step asks if you would like to be considered for work-study opportunities.
Step 2 is for information from your tax return plus other financial information. If you used the IRS data retrieval tool to transfer for your tax return information, much of this step will be filled out for you. You will need your (and spouse) total current balance of cash, savings, and checking accounts, total current net worth of investments including real estate but excluding the house you live in, total current net worth of current business and investment farms. This section includes questions about 2021 tax credits, child support paid, taxable college grants and scholarships, combat pay, and co-op pay. It also includes payments to tax deferred plans, child support received, housing, food and living allowances, veterans' benefits, disability, and other non-taxed income. This is the most difficult part of the form. You want to be accurate.
Step 3 is the informational section to determine if parental information is required. If every question is answered 'no', the step 4 parental information section is required. If you answered 'yes' to any question, the step 4 parental information is not required.
Step 4 is the same as step 2 except it is filled out by your parents based on their 2021 tax return and financial information. They need to fill it out.
Step 5 is only required if step 4 is required (answering 'no' to all the questions in step 3). This step includes questions filled out by the student regarding size of household and any federal benefits received.
Step 6 is the fun part, where you get to select which colleges you would like to have your FAFSA information sent to.
Step 7 is signing and dating the form. If your parents' information is required, they will also need to sign and date the form.
It's a different experience filling out the paper than the online form, but it is the same information.
I suggest using the IRS data retrieval tool for steps 2 and 4, but always make sure that the information transferred is correct. In the end, you are signing this form and responsible for all information.
Here is the link to fill out the FAFSA form FAFSA® Application | Federal Student Aid
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