Tips for Completing the FAFSA

Here’s valuable information on completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) required for qualifying to receive grants, work study or loans.

Apply early 

You don’t have to wait on a completed tax return. You may check the appropriate box indicating that you are estimating your income, and then provide the best estimate based on check stubs, W-2 forms, or other income documentation.

Apply online  

Although you can submit a paper application, you will get your Student Aid Report (SAR) sooner if you apply online.

Provide the correct Federal School Code

CIU’s federal code is 003429. 

Apply for an FSA ID 

If you do not already have an FSA ID, you can create one when logging in to FAFSA.gov. The FSA ID replaces the federal PIN. You can find step-by-step instructions on how to create a FSA ID. Dependent students need at least one parent to apply for an FSA ID.  Once the Social Security Administration verifies your information in one to three days, you will be able to use your FSA ID to access FAFSA.gov and other Department of Education websites. 

Collect your paperwork

You will need these documents: Social Security card, driver’s license, the previous year’s W-2 forms, federal income tax return (and your spouse’s, if married) and your parents’ (if you’re a dependent), untaxed income records, bank and mortgage statements, business and investment records, and alien registration card (if not a U.S. citizen).

Provide a reliable email address

 You will receive important messages from the Department of Education. Check this email regularly.

Save your FAFSA

Save your application frequently using the Save button at the bottom of the screen. 

Completing IRS Data Retrieval

If you have filed your and/or your parents have your taxes, you may be able to review and import your information automatically using the IRS Data Retrieval tool.   

Review the SAR (Student Aid Report)

Once you complete the FAFSA, the Department of Education will mail or email you the SAR which will include any messages and possible errors that need to be corrected.

FAFSA Tip Sheets