What Do I Need to Complete FAFSA?
First, you need to determine if you are a Dependent or Independent student. Dependent students are required to provide their parents’ information; Independent students only need information for themselves and their spouse.
You are an Independent Student
- For the Spring and Summer 2014 semesters, you were born before 01/01/1990.
- For the Fall 2014 and Spring/Summer semesters, you were born before 1/01/1991
- If you are married on the date you first complete the FAFSA
- If you are a Veteran of the United States military or are currently a member of the United States’ military on Federal active duty.
- If you have a child or dependent whom you provide more than half the support for between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015.
- If at any time since you turned age 13, both your parents were deceased, you were in foster care or you were a dependent or ward of the court
- If you were ever determined to be an emancipated minor, in legal guardianship (not with parents), or a homeless/unaccompanied youth
Keep in mind that you are not independent
- If you move away from your parent’s home and are not independent for any other reason stated above
- If your parents refuse to pay for college, and you are not independent for any other reason stated above
- If you cannot provide documentation for any of the statements above
Who is a Parent?
- If your parent was never married and does not live with your other legal parent, or if your parent is widowed or not remarried, answer the questions about that parent.
- If your legal parents (biological and/or adoptive) are not married to each other and live together, select “Unmarried and both parents living together” and provide information about both of them regardless of their gender. Do not include any person who is not married to your parent and who is not a legal or biological parent. Contact 1-800-4-FED-AID for assistance in completing questions 80-94.
- If your parents are married, select “Married or remarried.” Consistent with the Supreme Court decision holding Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, same-sex couples must report their marital status as married if they were legally married in a state or other jurisdiction (foreign country) that permits same-sex marriage, without regard to where the couple resides. If your legal parents are divorced but living together, select “Unmarried and both parents living together.” If your legal parents are separated but living together, select “Married or remarried,” not “Divorced or separated.”
- If your parents are divorced or separated, answer the questions about the parent you lived with more during the past 12 months. (If you did not live with one parent more than the other, give answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months or during the most recent year that you actually received support from a parent.) If this parent is remarried as of today, answer the questions about that parent and your stepparent.
- If your widowed parent is remarried as of today, answer the questions about that parent and your stepparent.
Documents needed for FAFSA
For Dependent students, you will need information for yourself and your parents. For Independent students, you will need information for yourself and your spouse.
For the Fall 2014 and Spring/Summer Semesters 2015:
- 2013 Federal 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ tax forms
- 2013 W-2 Forms
- Records of untaxed income earned in 2013
- Social Security Numbers and birth dates for student, parent, and/or spouse
- (If Dependent) Month/Year your parents were married
You can fill out the FAFSA using estimates if you have not completed your tax forms. However, you will need to go back and correct your information once the taxes are filed. If you completed your taxes at least 2 weeks prior to completing the FAFSA, you will want to use the IRS Data Match option.
IRS Data Match
What is it?
The IRS Data Match is available if you and/or your parents:
- E-file your 2013 tax forms at least 2 weeks before completing your FAFSA
- Actively choose to use the IRS Data Match option
- Enter your PIN on the “Financial” portion of the FAFSA and then complete a form on the IRS website.
Why should you?
- The income information is accurate because it comes directly from the IRS
- If either you or your parents do the Data Match, you will not be required to turn in your tax transcripts if you are selected for verification.
- The data match saves you time by auto-entering your information (just don’t forget to enter wages and other information from your W-2s.)
Why couldn’t (or shouldn’t) you?
- This is your 1st draft of the FAFSA and taxes haven’t been filed
- You or your parents filed as “married filing jointly” on the Federal 1040 forms but you (independent) and/or your parents (dependent)
- Had a change in marital status (married, divorced, or separated) since 1/1/2014
- Were required to file a tax correction (the “1040X”)
Remember: If you are just going back to do corrections to your FAFSA, you can always resubmit using the IRS Data Match.
Last updated 10/30/2014