Senior year is full of excitement, milestones, and trepidation: College visits, the first acceptance letter, are all exciting firsts. Choosing the right college is nerve racking and exciting., Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be a cause for dread and stress, but it does not have to be. Students’ planning to attend college should complete the FAFSA application even if they believe they will not qualify for federal aid. Many scholarships and institutional aid are dependent on FAFSA completion. Furthermore, if circumstances change and an appeal is warranted having a FAFSA on file makes that process go much more smoothly. Below is five steps to successfully complete the FAFSA and a few pro tips to keep in mind.

1. Create the FSA ID. Both the student and a parent will need an FSA ID. The FSA ID is the username and password and is used to electronically sign the FAFSA. The FSA ID can only be attached to one email; therefore, the student and parent should not try to use the same email address to create an FSA ID. (Pro Tip: Students do not use your school email address to create your FSA ID because you will lose access to that email quickly after graduation). Keep your FSA ID and password someplace safe.

2. Gather your materials. Things needed: income information, social security numbers, demographic information for parent(s) and student.

3. Go to to complete the FAFSA.

Pro Tips:

  • a. Using the data retrieval tool cuts down on the possibility of mistakes and is quick and easy.
  • b. The FAFSA can be sent to 10 schools. OSU’s school code is 003090.
  • c. If you wish to add a school after the FAFSA has been sent you can do that. Just wait until the first submission has been accepted. Then log back into the FAFSA and make your addition.
  • d. Do not pay an outside agency to complete the FAFSA. Contact the schools financial aid office for support

4. Sign and Submit- only one parent needs to sign the FAFSA.

5. Follow up- watch your email for confirmation the FAFSA has been accepted. Most colleges and Universities have a priority deadline. It is important to complete the FAFSA prior to the deadline, The Ohio State University’s priority deadline is February 1. Often institutional aid is dependent on an on-time FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Aid uses prior prior year data, if there has been a significant changes in circumstances, please contact the Financial Aid office of the chosen institution for appeal options. In 2021, students left 3.75 billion of Pell Grant money on the table by not completing the FAFSA, do not be one of those students.

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