Completing the FAFSA
You can complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid FAFSA (note—FREE!) online. Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation. Federal Student Aid is responsible for managing the student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. These programs provide grants, loans, and work-study funds to students attending college or career school.
The FAFSA is the only application you’ll need to receive financial aid at KSC. The completed FAFSA will be your application for all possible types of need-based financial aid from KSC, Pell grants, and state scholarships. Students must file the FAFSA each year before our priority filing deadline of March 1st to receive financial aid. KSC’s Title IV Code (002590) must be on your FASFA in order for our office to receive and process your application.
Before you begin the FAFSA application, you will need to apply for a PIN, which will serve as an electronic signature throughout the process.
Applying for a PIN
A PIN serves as your signature on your electronically filed FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). All students should obtain a PIN. For students who are required to provide parental information on the FAFSA, one of those parents should also get a PIN to use as his or her signature. In addition to signing the FAFSA, PINs can be used for signing electronic master promissory notes, accessing federal aid records, and filing for future financial aid.
Visit www.PIN.ed.gov to apply for a PIN or to learn more.
If you or your parent are unable to obtain a PIN, you may submit your application without a signature; however, this will delay the processing of your application. The KSC Financial Aid Office will send you a paper signature page for you and/or your parent to sign and return directly to the KSC Financial Aid Office.
Why file on the Web?
- Electronic filing is faster and more accurate than filing a paper application.
- FAFSA on the Web edits your application before you submit it, ensuring your data is ready to be processed.
- Using a PIN replaces the need for your physical signature.
- You are provided with the opportunity to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool which will transfer your federal income tax data directly onto the FAFSA for you ensuring accuracy.
The FAFSA should be completed as soon as possible after January 1. If your or your parent’s taxes will not be completed before the March 1 deadline, the FAFSA can and should be completed and submitted using estimated tax information. You will receive priority consideration as an on-time applicant if the Department of Education receives your FAFSA by March 1.
Find answers to most of your FAFSA questions at the Federal Student Aid help page.
Looking for help with your FAFSA? Watch this tutorial for some help: Seven Easy Steps to the FAFSA: A Student's Guide to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, courtesy of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Quick tips for filing your FAFSA
Ensure accuracy by using the new IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), located within the FAFSA application. If you are unfamiliar with the DRT, you can learn more about its use with a video tutorial or our guide, Using the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT).
- Use your legal name as it appears on your Social Security card. Nicknames or aliases will cause a processing delay.
- Read the questions carefully. The words "you" and "your" on the FAFSA always refer to the student, not the parents.
- To be considered a veteran, you must have served on active duty and been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. If your service was only for training purposes (e.g., National Guard, Reserves, or ROTC), you are not considered a veteran for your federal financial aid application.
- Remember to count yourself, the student, as one of the people in your household who will be a college student during the award year.
Your Parents and the FAFSA
- If your parents are divorced or separated, the parent with whom you lived the most during the past 12 months is the parent responsible for filling out the FAFSA. If child support is being exchanged, the parent receiving child support on your behalf should be the parent completing the FAFSA.
- If the parent responsible for completing the FAFSA has remarried, your parent must complete the FAFSA as married and report the income collected for the entire household (which includes the step-parent).
- If your or your parent’s marital status on the FAFSA differs from the filing status reported on the tax return, please anticipate a request for additional information to verify marital status.
- The IRS (for tax purposes) and the Department of Education (for financial aid purposes) have very different definitions of dependency! If your parents are divorced, the parent that claims you as an exemption/dependent on his/her tax return may not be the custodial parent that completes the FAFSA with you!
Dependents and the FAFSA
- A legal dependent is a person for whom you provide and will continue to provide more than half of their support. Support includes money, gifts, loans, housing, food, clothing, automobile, medical and dental care, and payment of college costs.
- If you have a child who is supported by your parents or someone else, you should answer "no" to the question that asks about legal dependents other than a spouse.
- If you have an unborn child who will be born before or during the award year (July 1 through June 30) and will be your legal dependent, that child should be counted as a household member. You may be asked to provide supporting documentation about your ability to provide more than 50% of the financial support for that child.
Avoid Common FAFSA Mistakes
- Do not leave any field blank! If the answer is zero or the question does not apply to you, write in a zero. If you leave a question blank, the federal processor will assume that you forgot to answer it.
- Do not report the federal taxes withheld (from your W2) as taxes paid. Refer to a prior year tax return as a guide if you have not yet filed for the year the FAFSA is requesting.
- Report all the required sources of untaxed income, which includes child support, workers compensation, untaxed 401(k) disbursements, etc.
- Include yourself in the household size. Even if you didn't live there during the previous year, you should always include yourself as part of your parent's household.
- Don't forget to sign the application with your PIN! Dependent students must have one parent’s signature.
- Remember to file on time; priority is given to students who file the FAFSA by March 1.
- As with all forms and applications, make sure you read the instructions and questions carefully.