Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is very important. The FAFSA determines your financial aid for the upcoming year. The application must be completed each year for you to qualify for federal, state, and institutional aid. When completing the FAFSA, be sure to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. The IRS Data Retrieval tool allows you to import your income information directly from your IRS tax return, and using the tool will greatly reduce your chance of having to provide follow-up information.

Here are the steps to filling out the FAFSA:

1. Create an account (FSA ID)

To create a FSA ID go to fsaid.ed.gov

2. Start the FAFSA form at fafsa.gov

It is important to start the FAFSA application as soon as possible. There are limited funds.

3. Fill out the Student Demographics section

Make sure to fill out all the correct personal information, exactly as it appears on your Social Security Card.

4. List the schools to which you want your FAFSA information sent

Add ALL and EVERY school you are considering to attend.

5. Answer the dependency status questions

This section will determine a series of questions, such as information that may be required by your parents.

6. Fill out the Parent Demographics section

Your parents will provide their demographic information in this section. Even if you are not living with your parents.

7. Supply your financial information

This is where you and your parents will provide your financial information. Where you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool which will save you time and will import your tax information.

8. Sign and submit your FAFSA form

You and your parent must sign and submit your FAFSA for it to be complete.

For more detailed instructions you can visit the U.S. Department of Education or stop by the Office of Financial Aid located in the Campus Commons to answer any of your questions.