How to Master the FAFSA


How to Master the FAFSA

Campus & Community, College Tips
Maggie Olson
October 18, 2016

Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the most important step toward securing financial aid for your education. This year there has been a major change with the timing of the FAFSA. It’s now available Oct. 1, instead of Jan. 1 in past years.


Here are four tips to help you fill out the FAFSA like a pro:


1. Create an FSA ID

An FSA ID is a username and password combination that you will use to login and sign the FAFSA. You will need to create one (and if you are a dependent your parents also need to create an ID) before you begin the FAFSA. The ID can also be used to access certain websites related to your federal financial aid. To create an ID visit

2. Dependents: Keep your parents in the loop

If you are considered a dependent student on the FAFSA (the qualifications are anyone under 24, unmarried and without financial dependents), then you will need your parents’ information as well. Letting your parents know ahead of time that their information will be required will help to speed up the process.

3. Complete it ASAP

Completing the FAFSA quickly after it opens each year is to your financial aid benefit. The sooner you finish it, the faster the processing time on your financial aid awards (if eligible).

4. Taxes, Taxes, Taxes

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to have access to your tax information while filling out the FAFSA. While the tax information section does not come until the very end of the document, you cannot submit the application until you have every section completed. It can be frustrating to get to the very end only to end up missing information you need, so having your taxes next to you at the onset will prevent any irritation down the road. Better yet, you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to retrieve your taxes to ensure accuracy.

Your educational funding advisor at Herzing University is always available to help you with any questions about the FAFSA. To learn more about the FAFSA and to complete it visit

Wondering what other support services Herzing offers? Learn more here.


Maggie Olson is an Educational Funding Advisor at Herzing University’s Minneapolis campus.