Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Complete the FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov. Be certain that you are using the .gov site to assure that you are using the secure federal processing site. You complete the FAFSA after January 1 of the upcoming academic year (January 1, 2013 for 2013-2014). Waiting until you file your federal income taxes makes the process more accurate by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
The FAFSA PIN you used during your undergraduate years is the same you will use now. If you did not use federal aid or cannot remember that PIN, go to www.pin.ed.gov in order to apply for or retrieve your PIN. Keep this number in a safe place as you will use it to apply for student loans and access information after graduation.
If you are required to file federal income taxes, you should complete that step prior to completing your FAFSA. If you will be delayed in filing your taxes past the EVMS deadlines for financial aid, file on estimated income, but you must return once you have filed your taxes and update your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is the most accurate way of transferring your income data to the FAFSA. File your taxes and then allow five to seven days if filing electronically or three to four weeks if you filed your taxes by paper return. Then complete your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If you do not or cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer data and you should be selected for verification, you must provide a federal tax transcript for that process. A copy of your signed tax return is not sufficient.
You also will need current asset information, even if not required to provide by the FAFSA process. Enter current checking, savings and cash on hand (liquid assets) on hand as of the date you file your FAFSA. Also include net investments (restricted assets) such as certificates of deposit, stocks, bonds,
Review your FAFSA results (Student Aid Report) for accuracy after your application has been processed. The comments section of your Student Aid Report will indicate if you have been selected for verification. See Verification for more information about that process.
Read more under Title VII financial aid (Loans for Disadvantaged Students) if you will be appying for that loan.