“FAFSA”. It is a word that instills fear in the hearts of college-bound students and parents all over the nation. Fear not – if you have everything you need put together in advance, it doesn’t have to be such a daunting task. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of everything you’ll need to fill out your Federal Application for Financial Student Aid so that you can be ready when the time comes.

While the beginning date for filling out the form has passed (October 1), don’t let procrastination get you down. There’s still plenty of time to fill out the FAFSA for next school year. The sooner you do so, the better chance you have of making sure that your funding is in place for the next year. The whole process will be much easier if you gather everything together and have it in one place when you fill out the form.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Your Social Security card and driver’s license. If you’re not a US citizen, your alien registration card.
  2. Your most recent federal income tax returns, W-2s, and any other records of monies earned. There’s also an online tool called the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
  3. Your parents’ federal income tax returns, W-2s, and any other records of monies earned – if you are a dependent.
  4. Records and documentation of any nontaxable income. This includes:
    1. Social Security income
    2. Military or clergy allowancesPreparing to File the FAFSA
    3. Veteran’s benefits
    4. Welfare benefits.
    5. Child support
    6. Money received or paid on your behalf
  5. Any education-related financial information reported to the IRS:
    1. Work-study
    2. Assistanceships
    3. Fellowships
    4. Grants
    5. Scholarship aid
  6. Current bank and brokerage account statements, including records of stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other investments (if applicable).
  7. Bustiness or investment farm records (if applicable).
  8. Any records relating to unusual family financial circumstances. Examples include death, divorce, job loss, and private K-12 tuition.
  9. Your Title IV Institution Codes for each school to which you are applying. You can find the code fromthe school itself, you can use FinAid’s Title IV School Code Database.
  10. IMPORTANT: You’ll need an FSA ID to sign the form. It’s easy to create one online. If you are a dependent, your parent must sign as well; they will need their own FSA ID.
  11. If you are a male under age 25, you must check off the box asking if you have registered for the selective service. If you have not, you can check another box for you to be automatically registered.

Keep in mind, the longer you put off completing your FAFSA, the longer it will take to process. Make sure you have all of your funds ready to go for the first day of Fall semester. Good luck!