The HS Senior Checklist: It's FAFSA Time!

Don't Miss this Important Financial Aid Application!

By Christen Reiner, Macaroni Kid Lakewood-Littleton & Macaroni Kid Denver Editor and Publisher October 1, 2021

Is your High School Senior thinking of going to college next Fall? If the answer is yes, or even maybe, it's time to fill out the FAFSA!

What is the FAFSA?, you might ask. Basically, it's a financial aid application that all college-bound students should fill out every year they plan to be in college. And this year's application opens on October 1st. We've gathered the answers to some basic FAFSA questions here. For more detailed information, visit

๐Ÿ’ฐ What is the FAFSA?

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. 

๐Ÿ’ฐ Why should my child complete the FAFSA?

To apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, work-study, and loans, you need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. Completing and submitting the FAFSA form is free and easier than ever, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school.

In addition, many states and colleges use your FAFSA information to determine your eligibility for state and school aid, and some private financial aid providers may use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for their aid.

๐Ÿ’ฐ I make too much money for Federal Student Aid. Should I still complete the FAFSA?

Yes. EVERYONE should complete the FAFSA. You may qualify for aid even if you think you won't! Also, most schools also use the FAFSA information to determine your eligibility for aid at the school.

๐Ÿ’ฐ What documents will I need?

(For the 2022-2023 FAFSA, you will need your 2020 tax information.) 

  • Your Social Security number (it’s important that you enter it correctly on the FAFSA form!)
  • Your parents’ Social Security numbers if you are a dependent student
  • Your driver’s license number if you have one
  • Your Alien Registration number if you are not a U.S. citizen
  • Federal tax information or tax returns including IRS W-2 information, for you (and your spouse, if you are married), and for your parents if you are a dependent student:
    • IRS 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ
    • Foreign tax return
    • Tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or Palau
  • Records of your untaxed income, such as child support received, interest income, and veterans noneducation benefits, for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student
  • Information on cash; savings and checking account balances; investments, including stocks and bonds and real estate (but not including the home in which you live); and business and farm assets for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student

๐Ÿ’ฐ Where do I start?

Before starting, you and your student will need to create a FAFSA ID. You can do that HERE!

Publisher's note: The FAFSA is completed in your teen's name and intended to be completed by your teen. That being said, I find that it is easier to at least work on it together. Your teen will likely not have the information needed to fill it out on their own.

๐Ÿ’ฐ I am ready to fill out the FAFSA... where do I go?

Ready to fill out the FAFSA? Click HERE!

Reminder: The FAFSA should be completed in your student's name.

๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ You can fill out the FAFSA anytime before March 1, 2022, but... DON'T DELAY! Funds are limited. The sooner you fill out the FAFSA, the more funds will be available to you!