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Filing the FAFSA

What students need to know

When to apply

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) applications can be filed starting October 1st each year.

Remember: Financial aid deadlines aren’t the same as college admission deadlines.
The FAFSA must be filed every year a student is in school.

What do you need?

If you’re a dependent student, you’ll need this information for you and your parents:

  • Social Security number
  • Alien Registration number (if you aren’t a U.S. citizen)
  • Federal income tax return, W-2s, and other records of money earned; you may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
  • Bank statements and investment records (if applicable)
  • Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
  • An FSA ID so you can sign the form electronically

Why FAFSA matters

The FAFSA gives families and students access not just to federal loans, but also state aid, if it’s available. Many colleges offer their own aid too, although it’s usually limited. Students should check for their state’s deadlines and their colleges’ websites for those deadlines.

Submission time frames and tax information*


Submit the FAFSA at

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*Source: FAFSA application submission time frames and required tax information are projected based on information provided in the September 14, 2015 IFAP FAFSA filing date change announcement (also referenced as the Dear Colleague letter).

These materials were prepared and/or provided by Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae does not provide, and these materials are not meant to convey, financial, tax, or legal advice. Consult your own attorney or tax advisor about your specific circumstances.
Sallie Mae, the Sallie Mae Logo and other Sallie Mae names and logos are service marks or registered service marks of Sallie Mae Bank. All other names and logos used are the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.
SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries, including Sallie Mae Bank, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America. ©2020 Sallie Mae Bank. All rights reserved. MKT15557 0920

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