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How to Fill Out the FAFSA When You Have More Than One Child in College

U.S. Department of Education Blog - September 29, 2017 - 8:00am

Having one child who is heading to college can be stressful, but having to help multiple children at the same time can feel like too much to manage. While I can’t save you from a forgotten application deadline or the “how to do your own laundry” lessons, hopefully, I can help make the financial aid part of the process run more smoothly with these tips:

How many FSA IDs will my children and I need? How many FAFSAs do we have to complete?

An FSA ID is a username and password combination that serves as your legal electronic signature throughout the financial aid process—from the first time your children fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid ( FAFSA®) form until the time their loans are paid off. You AND each of your children will need your own FSA ID. Parents and students can create their FSA IDs here.

Note: Your FSA ID is associated with your Social Security number and is equivalent to your legal signature; therefore, each person can only have one FSA ID. If you are a parent, you will use the same FSA ID to sign each of your children’s FAFSA forms.

Each student and one parent need an FSA ID and each of your children will need to fill out a FAFSA. Your children will need to provide your (parent) information on their 2018–19 FAFSA forms unless they are going to graduate school, were born before January 1, 1995, or can answer “yes” to any of these questions.

Example: You have three children who are going to or who are in college. You’ll need four FSA IDs—one for you as the parent (only one parent needs an FSA ID) and one for each child. You’ll need to fill out three FAFSA forms, one for each child.

Can I transfer my information from one child’s FAFSA form to another so I don’t have to re-enter it?

Yes! Once your first child’s FAFSA form is complete, you’ll get to a confirmation page. On the confirmation page, you’ll see a hyperlink that says, “transfer your parents’ information into a new FAFSA.” Make sure you have your pop-up blocker turned off and click that link.

TIP: If you want the process to go as smoothly as possible, your second child should have his/her FSA ID handy so you’re ready for the next step.


You’ll then see the alert below confirming that you want to transfer your information to another FAFSA.


Once you click “OK,” a new window will open allowing your other child to start his or her FAFSA form. We recommend that your child starts the FAFSA form by entering his or her FSA ID (not your FSA ID) using the option on the left in the image below. However, if you are starting your child’s FAFSA form, choose the option on the right and enter your child’s information.

IMPORTANT:  Regardless of who starts the application from this screen, the FAFSA form remains the student’s application; so when the FAFSA form says “you” it means the student. If the FAFSA form is asking for parent information, it will specify that. When in doubt, refer to the left side of the screen. It will indicate whether you’re on a student page (blue) or a parent page (purple).


After you select the FAFSA form you’d like to complete and create a save key, you’ll be brought to the introduction page, which will indicate that parental data was copied into your second child’s FAFSA form.

Once you reach the parent information page, you will see your information pre-populated. Verify this info, proceed to sign and submit the FAFSA form, and you’re done!

NOTE: If you have a third (or fourth, fifth, etc.) child who needs to fill out the FAFSA form and provide your information, repeat this process until you’ve finished all your children’s FAFSA forms.

I have education savings accounts (529 plan, etc.) for my children. How do I report those on the FAFSA form?

You report the value of all education savings accounts owned by you, your child, or any other dependent children in your household as a parent investment. (Read “What is the net worth of your parents’ investments?” for more information.) If you have education savings accounts for multiple children, you must report the combined current value of those accounts, even if some of those children are not in college yet or are not completing a FAFSA form.

Example: Child 1 and 2 are filling out the FAFSA. Child 3 is in 8th grade. They each have 529 college savings plan accounts in their names.

  • Child 1 account balance: $20,000
  • Child 2 account balance: $13,000
  • Child 3 account balance: $8,000

You would add $41,000 to any other parent investments you’re required to report and input it when asked, “What is the net worth of your parents’ investments?” on each of your children’s FAFSAs.

How does having more than one child in college impact the amount of financial aid my children qualify for?

Having multiple children enrolled in college at the same time could have an impact on your children’s eligibility for need-based federal financial aid.

TIP: We often hear about families who choose not to fill out the FAFSA form again because they believe that they won’t qualify for grants or scholarships, especially if they did not qualify the previous year. This is a huge mistake, especially if you will have additional children entering college. Read on to learn why.

Schools use the following formula to determine a student’s eligibility for need-based financial aid:

Cost of attendance (COA) – Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = financial need

Let’s break down this formula:

Cost of attendance: This will vary by school, so if you have two children attending different schools with different costs, their financial need may be different, even if their EFC is the same.

Expected Family Contribution: The information you provide on the FAFSA form is used to calculate your child’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is a combination of how much a parent and student are expected to contribute towards the student’s cost to attend college. The EFC is not necessarily the amount of money your family will have to pay for college, nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive. It is a number used by your child’s school to calculate how much financial aid he or she is eligible to receive. Since we recognize that a parent’s annual ability to pay doesn’t change as you have more children enroll in college, we divide the expected parent contribution portion by the number of children you expect to have in college.

Example: Let’s assume that all of your dependent children have identical financial information and that the calculated EFC assuming one child in college would be $10,000. Here’s how each child’s EFC would change depending on the number of family members attending college full-time.

Number of dependent children in college full-time Each child’s EFC 1 $10,000 2 $5,000 3 $3,333 4 $2,500

Financial need: Please note that schools differ (sometimes greatly) in their ability to meet each student’s financial need. To compare average school costs schools based on family income, visit the CollegeScorecard.ed.gov.

Nicole Callahan is a Digital Engagement Strategist at the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.

Photo by Getty Images

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The post How to Fill Out the FAFSA When You Have More Than One Child in College appeared first on ED.gov Blog.

Categories: Higher Education News

A Lesson in Student Data for Professors

Chronicle of Higher Education - September 28, 2017 - 10:00pm
Frustration over grading discrepancies inspired an experiment that is earning a community college national attention.
Categories: Higher Education News

At the U. of Puerto Rico, Widespread Damage and Anxiety After Maria

Chronicle of Higher Education - September 28, 2017 - 6:34pm
A top administrator is optimistic that insurance and disaster-relief funds will cover repairs, but students worry that the one-two punch of hurricanes will keep them from finishing classes this semester.
Categories: Higher Education News

Lifelong Learning: A Roadway to Success

U.S. Department of Education Blog - September 28, 2017 - 12:54pm

Photo credit: Heidi Markley Photography

National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week (September 24-30, 2017) is a big opportunity to come together as a field to celebrate adult education and to raise awareness of the 36 million adult learners across the nation who are in need of assistance.

Of the 36 million adult learners, the U.S. Department of Education’s Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) program, enacted as Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), serves 1.5 million adults each year under. WIOA is the primary federal program that provides foundation skills to those who are below the postsecondary level and English literacy instruction for out of-school youth and adults over the age of 16.

Education is and continues to be the pathway to success. The Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) supports programs through WIOA funding that assist adult students in acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to become productive workers, parents and citizens—and that help them transition to postsecondary education and lifelong learning and training.

Among its many efforts, OCTAE has long participated in visits to programs across the country that exemplify the work of programs that support the diverse needs of adult learners.

Highlighted here are two students whose stories represent both their successes and those of programs that supported them.

Paul “Reggie” Bryant (Photo credit: Heidi Markley Photography)

Paul “Reggie” Bryant, age 68, shown at left and with his diploma at the top of this post, attended the Academy of Hope Adult Public Charter School (AoH), and recently gave the keynote address at his graduation, in which he recognized his peers and their accomplishments. In his address, Reggie shared with the audience that he had spent most of his life just miles away from the Academy of Hope but “the journey to graduation was a long one.” Like many adult learners, Reggie has exceeded the age of a typical high school graduate. But his story—which includes serious battles with addiction, brief periods of incarceration, and a misdiagnosed learning disorder—are not unfamiliar to the teachers supporting these students’ efforts and the students enrolled in the Academy, many of whom share similar journeys and accomplishments.

When Tiffanie, age 62, who graduated from the Goodwill Excel Center, was a senior in high school she experienced a family tragedy leading her to isolating herself from her regular life routines. She left high school and began working. She struggled to subsist, living paycheck to paycheck. Now a mother, Tiffanie has emphasized the value of an education to her daughter—and returned to school. She shared the following: “I wanted to provide more for her and I knew education was the path for that.”  She has since graduated from the Goodwill Excel Center and is now attending the University of the District of Columbia, studying Early Childhood Development—with the goal of becoming a teacher.

As these two student stories exemplify, the work of programs across the nation are making a profound difference in the lives of adult learners. These learners are able to be more solvent financially and to care for their families, be more actively engaged in their communities and as citizens, and are better able to continue to sustain their competitiveness and employability in a changing marketplace. Unfortunately their successes are the exception since one in six adults in the U.S. lacks basic reading skills and cannot read a job application, understand basic written instructions, or navigate the Internet.

Tiffanie’s decisions and her accomplishments will continue to affect her daughter. Large-scale international and national surveys of student achievement reveal that children with parents who have lower levels of educational attainment tend to have fewer socioeconomic advantages and score lower on academic assessments and those whose parents have higher levels of educational attainment often have greater socioeconomic advantages and score higher on academic assessments. Non-traditional students, like Tiffanie and Reggie, serve as powerful role models and exemplars for the power of lifelong learning.

As these two adult students’ stories suggest, individuals have a diverse range of opportunities available to them in which they can explore leaning opportunities, whether it is through the completion of a degree or via libraries, online courses, such as massive open online courses (MOOC), professional development programs, podcasts and other types of learning options.

In sum: “[E]ducation is life—not merely preparation for an unknown kind of future living… The whole of life is learning, therefore education can have no endings. This new venture is called adult education not because it is confined to adults but because adulthood, maturity, defines its limits…” (Lindeman The Meaning of Adult Education. 1926: 4-5).

Are you a lifelong learner with a story to share? OCTAE would appreciate hearing from you, and possibly featuring your story in a future blog post.

Joseph Perez is a Management and Program Analyst in the Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education.

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Categories: Higher Education News

What Could Louisville Buy for the Money It Will Take to Fire Rick Pitino?

Chronicle of Higher Education - September 28, 2017 - 12:33pm
Ousting the scandal-plagued basketball coaching icon could run $44.5 million, which is more than all of the salaries in the College of Arts & Sciences.
Categories: Higher Education News

Learning Design for Innovation

WCET Frontiers Blog - September 28, 2017 - 9:32am

Hello and welcome to today’s WCET Frontiers blog post, with guest author John Gillmore, Research Fellow with the Institute for Learning Environment Design at the University of Central Oklahoma. John is here to discuss a new system of course, program, and curriculum innovation: the LEM model. This is an exciting example of innovation in higher education directly benefiting the learning success of our students.

Thank you John for explaining this new model for us!

Enjoy the day and enjoy the read,

~Lindsey Downs, WCET

The landscape in higher education is changing. Colleges and universities are having to reexamine traditional practices and consider new ways of doing things. This takes something called “innovation.” Innovation is somewhat of a buzzword these days, but the only way to adapt to this new ecosystem is to come up with new ideas or methods. So how do you support innovation in academia, a sector that is known to be quite rigid in structure?

How are Higher Education Institutions Addressing Innovation?

Higher education institutions are approaching the problem in different ways. Some are outsourcing their change management to publishers, technology companies, or consultants. This is an expensive and risky proposition with mixed results. Others attempt to tackle the problem on their own, but they often find that planning and leading change initiatives prove to be too time consuming and challenging. Politics and good-old-fashioned resistance to change are typically the victors of these efforts.

Introducing Learning Environment Design for Innovation

In response to these challenges, The University of Central Oklahoma has developed something called the Learning Environment Design for Innovation (LEDi) model. LEDi, a concept based in Design Thinking, provides leaders, learning designers, and facilitators with a simple and straight forward process for implementing course, program, and curriculum innovations. The system provides value by promoting relevant and effective learning that is planned and implemented efficiently.

Why It Was Developed

The system was borne from the need to effectively plan and communicate learning designs. Like many academics that have attempted this before, we found the lack of a universal medium frustrating. Fortunately, an important communication breakthrough facilitated both of these things and paved the way for the LEDi system: a revolutionary visual design method called Learning Environment Modeling™.

Learning Environment Modeling™ is an easy-to-use tool for designing all levels of learning – from courses to programs to institutional curriculum. It also enables users to communicate these designs easily and effectively. LEM is elegant in its simplicity and new users are able to learn LEM very quickly.

How It’s Being Used

The system is being used successfully at UCO for all types of curriculum design. Individual UCO departments are using the system to collaborate, redesign, and align programs with impressive efficiency and effectiveness. As an added benefit, those charged with leading assessment procedures appreciate the level of precision in the learning blueprints – this makes it easy to show how curriculum links to learning outcomes.

In addition, UCO instructional designers use LEDi and Learning Environment Modeling™ to develop and design every new and renewed online course. This system allows instructional designers to focus on learning design instead of being simply “course builders.”  LEDi and Learning Environment Modeling™ promote effective learning design and collaboration. When using this system, faculty and designers come away with a better understanding of the environment and a higher level of confidence.

So Effective, We Began Sharing It with Others

Our efforts with LEDi and Learning Environment Modeling™ were so successful, we began sharing it with other institutions, first with other Oklahoma colleges and universities, and more recently with those in other states. To accommodate these efforts, UCO launched the Institute for Learning Environment Design, or ILED. ILED provides training and consulting using LEDi and Learning Environment Modeling™. In addition, ILED offers the Certified Learning Environment Architect™ program: a professional credential-of-choice designed for leaders who are responsible for facilitating academic innovation. See our university website for more information, or to order the Learning Designer’s Guide to LEM book at http://iled.uco.edu.

John Gillmore
Research Fellow
Institute for Learning Environment Design
University of Central Oklahoma

Teaching Newsletter: A Conversation at Harvard

Chronicle of Higher Education - September 28, 2017 - 8:36am
As elite colleges try to enroll more diverse, first-generation, and low-income students, how should these institutions support them once they get there?
Categories: Higher Education News

5 Things to Do After Filing Your FAFSA® Form

U.S. Department of Education Blog - September 28, 2017 - 8:00am

Congratulations! You submitted your 2018–19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form! Wondering what happens next? Here are a few things to look out for:

1. Review Your FAFSA® Confirmation Page

After you complete the FAFSA form online and click “SUBMIT,” you’ll see a confirmation page like the one below. This is not your financial aid offer. You’ll get that separately from the school(s) you apply to and get into. Your school(s) calculate your aid.

The confirmation page provides federal aid estimates based on the information you provided on your FAFSA form. It’s important to know that these figures are truly estimates and assume the information you provided on the FAFSA form is correct. To calculate the actual amount of aid you’re eligible for, your school will take into account other factors, such as the cost to attend the school. Additionally, these estimates only take into account federal aid and not outside scholarships or state and institutional financial assistance you may also be eligible for.

TIP: Each school you are accepted to and include on your FAFSA form will send you a financial aid offer. Until you receive this notification, it may be difficult to know exactly how much aid you might be eligible to receive from a specific school. To get an idea of how much aid schools tend to give depending on your family’s income, visit CollegeScorecard.ed.gov and type in the school(s) you want to look up.

2. Review Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The information you report on your FAFSA form is used to calculate your EFC. It’s very important to note that the EFC, in most cases, is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college.  Instead, the EFC is an index number used by financial aid offices to calculate your financial need. The formula they use is:

    Cost of attendance
 Expected family contribution
    Your financial “need”

Each school will do its best to meet your financial need. Some schools may meet 100% of your financial need, and other schools may only meet 10%—it just depends on the school and the financial aid they have available that year. You should complete the FAFSA form annually because there are many factors that can change from year to year.

NOTE: Contrary to popular belief, the EFC formula considers more than just income. Factors such as dependency status, family size, and the number of family members who will attend college are just a few of the additional factors considered. 3. Apply For as Many Scholarships as You Can

As I mentioned previously, many schools won’t be able to meet your full financial need, so you’ll need a way to pay the difference between the financial aid your school offers and what the school costs. Scholarships are a great way to fill the gap. (Who doesn’t like free money?)

But don’t wait until after you receive your financial aid offer to start applying for scholarships. There are thousands of scholarships out there, but many have early deadlines. Set a goal for yourself; for example, maybe you aim to apply to one scholarship per week. There’s tons of free money, but you can’t get it unless you apply. Make scholarship applications your focus while you wait for your financial aid offer. The applications may take some time, but the possible pay out makes it all worth it.

If you still don’t have enough money to pay for school after financial aid and scholarships, consider these options.

4. Be On the Lookout for Your Aid Offer(s)

The 2018–19 FAFSA form is available on Oct. 1, 2017. Even if you submit it early, that doesn’t mean you’ll get an aid offer right away. Each school has a different schedule for awarding and paying out financial aid.

Remember that your school disburses your aid, not the “FAFSA people” (Federal Student Aid). Contact your school’s financial aid office for details about when they send out aid offers. If you want to see an estimate of your school’s average annual cost, use the College Scorecard. If you want to report significant changes in your family or financial situation, contact your school’s financial aid office.

TIP: After your FAFSA form has been processed successfully, it’s a good idea to make sure the schools you listed on your FAFSA form have received everything they need. You should find out if your school requires additional applications or documentation and submit any required documentation by the appropriate deadlines. 5. Make FAFSA® Corrections If You Need To

Lastly, after your FAFSA form has been processed (which takes about 3 days), you can go back and submit a correction to certain fields. This includes correcting a typo or adding another school to receive your FAFSA information. Log in with your FSA ID, and then click “Make FAFSA Corrections.” You can add up to 10 schools at a time. If you’re applying to more than 10 schools, follow these steps.

NOTE: Parents of dependent students cannot initiate a FAFSA correction. Students have to begin the correction process by logging in with their FSA ID, clicking “Make FAFSA Corrections,” and creating a Save Key they can share with their parent.

Sandra Vuong is a Digital Engagement Strategist at Federal Student Aid.

Photo by Andrew Jones, Department of Education.

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The post 5 Things to Do After Filing Your FAFSA® Form appeared first on ED.gov Blog.

Categories: Higher Education News

Senate Democrats Urge DeVos to Reinstate Obama Guidance on Sexual-Assault Policy

Chronicle of Higher Education - September 28, 2017 - 8:00am
The Education Department shows "a clear lack of concern for the many requests of survivors of sexual assault," the lawmakers wrote to the education secretary.
Categories: Higher Education News

Amid Professors’ ‘Doom-and-Gloom Talk,’ Humanities Ph.D. Applications Drop

Chronicle of Higher Education - September 27, 2017 - 10:01pm
While overall applications to doctoral programs were up nearly 1 percent from 2015 to 2016, applications to arts and humanities programs declined by 7.1 percent.
Categories: Higher Education News

Racist Symbols Are Found at American U. After Launch of Anti-Racist Center

Chronicle of Higher Education - September 27, 2017 - 5:34pm
The university has been trying to move past racist incidents that took place on campus last spring. Now it must reckon with another one.
Categories: Higher Education News

It’s Been a Terrible 2 Years for the University of Louisville

Chronicle of Higher Education - September 27, 2017 - 4:09pm
Escorts, sombreros, audits, an abandoned factory, secretive policies, two FBI investigations, Adidas money, and … what about its accreditation?
Categories: Higher Education News

At Christian Colleges, Theology Can Complicate Sexual-Assault Prevention

Chronicle of Higher Education - September 27, 2017 - 2:49pm
Some institutions flinch at the notion of emphasizing consent, for example, given that students aren’t supposed to be having sex in the first place.
Categories: Higher Education News

Journal Publisher Says Controversial Essay Did Pass Peer-Review Process

Chronicle of Higher Education - September 27, 2017 - 1:34pm
The publisher said a paper defending Western colonialism had received a double-blind peer review, part of Third World Quarterly’s standard checks.
Categories: Higher Education News

National Default Rate for Student Loans Rises, Breaking Streak of Declines

Chronicle of Higher Education - September 27, 2017 - 1:15pm
For the first time since 2013, the overall three-year cohort default rate on federal student loans has increased, if ever so slightly, from 11.3 percent to 11.5 percent.
Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Louisville Puts Basketball Coach and Athletic Director on Leave Amid Scandal

Chronicle of Higher Education - September 27, 2017 - 10:26am
The university, one of several implicated in a Justice Department investigation, took action against Rick Pitino as coach and Tom Jurich as AD.
Categories: Higher Education News

The Parent’s Guide to Filling Out the FAFSA® Form

U.S. Department of Education Blog - September 27, 2017 - 8:00am

While the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form is the student’s application, we know that parents often play a large role in the process. After all, students who are considered dependent have to provide parental information on the FAFSA form anyway and must have a parent sign it. While we recommend that the student start his or her own FAFSA form, we know that’s not always what happens. With that in mind, we wanted to provide instructions for parents who are starting the FAFSA form on behalf of their child so you can avoid running into issues completing the form.

If you are a parent completing the FAFSA form for your child, follow these steps:

1. Create an account (FSA ID).

An FSA ID is a username and password you use on Federal Student Aid websites such as fafsa.gov and StudentLoans.gov. If your child is considered a dependent student, two unique FSA IDs are needed to complete the FAFSA form online:

  1. Parent’s FSA ID
  2. Student’s FSA ID

We recommend that you and your child register for FSA IDs ahead of time, so you don’t experience delays later in the process.

IMPORTANT: Your child must create his or her own FSA ID. You cannot create an FSA ID for your child.Also, when you register, you’ll be asked to provide an email address and mobile phone number. This is optional, but highly recommended. These two items must be unique to each account. In other words, your email address and mobile phone number cannot be associated with more than one FSA ID.

You and your child should create your FSA IDs now at StudentAid.gov/fsaid.

Your FSA ID serves as your legal electronic signature throughout the federal student aid process. Do not share your FSA ID with anyone, not even your child. Your child should also not share his or her FSA ID with you. Keep your FSA ID information in a safe place. You’ll need it to renew your FAFSA form each year and to access federal student aid information online.

2. Start the FAFSA® form at fafsa.gov.
  1. Go to fafsa.gov and click “Start A New FAFSA.”
  2. Once on the log-in page, you will see two options. If you are starting the FAFSA form on behalf of your child, choose the option on the right, “Enter the student’s information.” Do not choose the option on the left, “Enter your (the student’s) FSA ID.”

  4. Enter your child’s name, Social Security number, and date of birth. Then, click next.
  5. Choose which FAFSA form you’d like to complete.
    2018–19 FAFSA form if your child will be attending college between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019.
    2017–18 FAFSA form if your child will be attending college between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018.
    Both: If your child will be attending college during both time periods and hasn’t completed the 2017–18 FAFSA form yet, complete that first, wait until it processes (one to three days), then go back in and complete the 2018–19 FAFSA form after.

    Were you given the option to submit a FAFSA® Renewal? If your child is present, you should choose this option. If you do, a lot of the demographic information required will be pre-populated. Your child must be present because he or she will need to enter the student’s FSA ID to continue. If your child is not present, you should “Start A New FAFSA.”
  6. Create a save key. A save key is a temporary password that allows you and your child to “pass” the FAFSA form back and forth. It also allows you to save your child’s FAFSA form and return to it later. Once you create a save key, share it with your child. He or she will need it to complete later steps.

IMPORTANT: The FAFSA® form is the student’s application, not yours. When the FAFSA form says “you” or “your,” it’s referring to the student. Pay attention to whether you’re being asked for student or parent information. When in doubt, the banner on the left side will indicate whether you’re on a student (blue) page or parent (purple) page.

3. Fill out the Student Demographics section.

Here’s where you’ll enter basic demographic information about your child, such as name, date of birth, etc. If you chose the FAFSA renewal option in step two, a lot of his or her personal information will be pre-populated to save you time. Make sure you enter your child’s personal information exactly as it appears on his or her Social Security card so you don’t encounter any errors. (That’s right, no nicknames.)

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

In the School Selection section, you’ll add all the schools you want to receive your child’s information. It is important that you add every school your child is considering, even if he or she hasn’t applied or been accepted yet. It doesn’t hurt to add more schools; colleges can’t see the other schools that have been added. In fact, you don’t even have to remove schools if your child later decides not to apply or attend. If your child doesn’t end up applying or getting accepted to a school, the school can just disregard his or her FAFSA form. You can remove schools at any time to make room for new schools. You can add up to 10 schools at a time. If your child is applying to more than 10 schools, here’s what you should do.

5. Answer the dependency status questions.

In this section, you’ll be asked a series of specific questions to determine whether or not your child is required to provide your (parent) information on the FAFSA form.

  • These dependency guidelines are set by Congress and are different from those used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • Even if your child doesn’t live with you, supports him or herself, and files taxes separately from you, he or she may still be considered a dependent student for federal student aid purposes.
  • If your child is determined to be a dependent student, he or she will be required to report information about you. If your child is determined to be an independent student, you can skip step six.
6. Fill out the Parent Demographics section.

This is where you’ll provide your own demographic information.

Are you divorced? Remarried? Here’s a guide to determining which parent’s information needs to be included on your child’s FAFSA form:

For specific guidance, visit the “Reporting Parent Information” page on StudentAid.gov.


7. Supply your financial information.

In this section, you’ll first be asked to provide parent financial information. This step is incredibly simple if you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), which will return with the 2018–19 FAFSA form on Oct. 1, 2017, with additional security and privacy protections added. The IRS DRT allows you to import your IRS tax information into the FAFSA form with just a few clicks. Using this tool also may reduce the amount of paperwork you need to provide to your child’s school. So if you’re eligible, use it!

To access the tool, indicate that you’ve “already completed” taxes on the parent finances page. If you’re eligible, you’ll see an option to “Link to IRS.” Choose that option and follow the prompts.

NOTE: Beginning with the 2018–19 FAFSA® form, the information transferred from the IRS will no longer be displayed, but you will get a confirmation message letting you know that the transfer was successful. You’ll also know which items have been transferred from the IRS because you’ll see “Transferred from the IRS” in place of the answer fields. You’ll still need to answer all other required questions.

Next, you’ll likely be asked to provide your child’s financial information.

  • If your child filed taxes, the easiest way to complete this section is to use the IRS DRT. Your child would need to be present because he or she needs to provide his or her FSA ID to use the tool. If your child is not present, save and exit the application and instruct your child to log in with his or her FSA ID, retrieve the FAFSA form using the save key, and then use the IRS DRT to complete the FAFSA form and sign it.
  • If your child did not file taxes, you can enter his or her financial information manually (if you have access to the required information). If you don’t have access to the information, save and exit the application and instruct your child to log in with his or her FSA ID, retrieve the FAFSA form using the save key, complete the FAFSA form, and sign it.

NOTE: If you need to save and exit your dependent child’s FAFSA form so he or she can complete the remaining information, you’ll need to log back in and sign your child’s FAFSA form before your child can submit it.

8. Sign your child’s FAFSA® form.

You’re not finished with the FAFSA form until you and your child sign it. The quickest and easiest way to sign your child’s FAFSA form is online with your FSA ID. If your child is not present, after you sign your child’s FAFSA form with your FSA ID, save and exit the application and instruct your child to log into fafsa.gov to sign and submit his or her FAFSA form.

Sign and Submit Tips:

  • If you or your child forgot your FSA ID, you can retrieve it.
  • Make sure you and your child don’t mix up your FSA IDs. This is one of the most common errors we see, and why it’s extremely important for each person to create his/her own FSA ID and not share it with anyone.
  • Make sure the parent who is using his/her FSA ID to sign the FAFSA form chooses the right parent number from the drop-down menu. If you don’t remember whether you were listed as Parent 1 or Parent 2, you can go back to the parent demographics section to check.
  • If you get an error saying that your FSA ID information doesn’t match the information provided on the FAFSA form, here’s what you should do. Note: This is often the result of mixing up the student and parent FSA ID.
  • We recommend signing the FAFSA form with an FSA ID because it’s the fastest way to get your child’s FAFSA form processed. However, if you and/or your child are unable to sign the FAFSA form electronically with an FSA ID, you can mail in a signature page. From the sign and submit page, select “Other options to sign and submit” and then choose “Print A Signature Page.” Just keep in mind that your child’s FAFSA form will take longer to process if you go this route.
  • If you have multiple children who need to complete the FAFSA form, you can use the same FSA ID to sign FAFSA forms for all of your children. You can also transfer your information into your other children’s applications by choosing the option provided on the FAFSA confirmation page.




You’re finished. What’s next?

Congrats on finishing! Your child is one step closer to getting money for college. With the hard part over, learn what your child should do next after submitting the FAFSA form.


Nicole Callahan is a Digital Engagement Strategist at the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.

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The post The Parent’s Guide to Filling Out the FAFSA® Form appeared first on ED.gov Blog.

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