Get Familiar with FAFSA and Financial Aid

No matter your education path, you’ll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA. This is your ticket to earning grants, work study, loans and other financial aid that can help make your program more affordable.

Once you file, the U.S. Department of Education will send a Student Aid Report (SAR), which summarizes your eligibility information to the colleges specified on your FAFSA. From there, the colleges and universities will determine how much aid they can offer you.


edit f2Your Tasks: Understand the FAFSA application process, create your FAFSA ID and begin gathering the necessary documents.


Step 1: The financial aid process can get confusing. Watch this video to learn about financial aid.

Financial Aid Overview


Step 2: Create your FSA ID

As you saw in the video above, a FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log into certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID identifies you as someone who has the right to access your own personal information on U.S. Department of Education websites, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at


Step 2a: The FSA ID process is easy with a few easy steps. Watch this video to learn how to create a FSA ID..

FSA ID Video

 NOTE: To sign the FAFSA, you and a parent or legal guardian will each need to create a unique FSA ID. You cannot share an FSA ID with your parent or guardian.


Step 2b: Once you are ready to complete the FSA ID, go to the Federal Student Aid website

If you have questions as your completing your FSA ID, click the question mark to the right of the form or navigate to the help section of the FSA ID.


Step 2c: Once you create your FSA ID, remember to keep it safe! You can use your FSA ID immediately to complete and electronically sign your FAFSA.


Step 3: Now we’ll learn more about the FAFSA filing process. Watch this video to learn about the process.


edit f2Step 4: To prepare your FAFSA filing, you’ll need the documents listed below. Review the FAFSA  checklist in your CAM Workbook, and in the “Notes” section of the chart, write down any concerns or questions you have about each step. Here’s an example. 

Document  Do I have it available?   Questions or concerns?
 Social Security Number  Yes  
 Parents' Social Security Number  Yes  
 Your driver's license  Yes  
 Federal Tax Information
  • W-2 (for me and my parents)
  • IRS 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ
  • Foreign tax return
  • Tax return for
  • Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or Palau
 Yes I need to find my W-2 from my summer job last year.
Records of your untaxed income, such as child support received, interest income, and veterans noneducation benefits, for you, and for your parents  ?  This is confusing to me. I will have to ask my parents if any of these situations apply to me.
Information on cash; savings and checking account balances; investments, including stocks and bonds and real estate (but not including the home in which you live); and business and farm assets for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student ?  Will have to ask my parents for help.

Once you fill out this checklist, make sure to print out and download this practice worksheet from the U.S. Department of Education. This will help you and your family get ready to file your FAFSA.


Ready to file your FAFSA? Jump ahead to Submitting Your Financial Aid Applications.




 Mission Accomplished:  Show your CAM Ambassador your completed checklist to earn your stamp.



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