What do I need to fill out during my FAFSA process?

Last Updated on January 15, 2024 by Lori Pace

The FAFSA process is just like applying for most funding opportunities – long and anxiety-inducing. We’ve compiled a list of all the things you’ll need to fill out your FAFSA as a single parent or student during this application process.

More information on FAFSA:

To complete the FAFSA, you will need your FSA ID. In short, this will act as your signature, and most importantly, records of income earned from the past two years

So, for the 2021—2022 school year, you will need financial information from 2019, and not only your 2020 income and tax info. You might be asking, when are FAFSA applications open or closed?

Three Dates To Keep InMind For The FAFSA Process

  • October 1st – FAFSA opens for the next academic year
  • June 30th – FAFSA closes for the current academic year
  • September 15th – Deadline to make FAFSA corrections for the previous academic year

Because the FAFSA is such a long form to fill out, you can save it and come back to it later – so if you don’t have some of these documents don’t worry!

Identity Information for FAFSA Process

  1. Your Social Security Number (SSN)
  2. Driver’s license number and state of issuance (if any)
  3. Alien Registration Number (if an eligible non-citizen)
  4. FSA ID to sign electronically. If you do not already have one, then please create one.

Proof of Income

  1. Taxable income from W-2 & 1099 forms (if available)
  2. Records of money earned or received from Federal Work-Study. Or other need-based work programs
  3. Untaxed income, including workers’ compensation; child support; housing, food. Besides other living allowances; or veterans benefits, etc.

These income documents will become vital in calculating your student funding amount. In short, these documents become the ‘evidence’ presented in an applicant’s court case for funding. Proving your financials is a vital step in accurately arguing why you or your child needs financial aid.

Because FAFSA depends on the financial situation of each student/applicant, those who are more needy will receive more funding than others

*However, funding is never a guarantee and will vary from state to state. BUT the more information = a clearer case for aid = higher possibility of receiving funding.

Tax Documents

  1. Your Federal Income Tax Return (1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ). And also your spouse’s, if you are married.
  2. Or, the equivalent foreign tax return (if applicable).

These documents help paint a clearer picture of a household’s economic and civil situation. So, each household has its own situation. Some mothers or parents might earn higher salaries but have more children to care for or have unforeseen expenses.


You now have the option of automatically retrieving your income and tax data from the IRS. You can also having it transferred straight into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

How do I link FAFSA process to IRS? 

When you reach the financial information section of the FAFSA, click “Link to IRS” to automatically prefill the form with your tax information.

It’s the fastest, most accurate way to enter your tax return information into the FAFSA form. This will also reduce the likelihood of having your FAFSA selected for verification.

After you submit your tax return, you can still correct any income or tax information that is different from what you initially submitted on your FAFSA.


  1. Bank statements as of the date the FAFSA is completed
  2. Business and investment information; business and farm records; stocks, bonds, and other investment records (as applicable)
  3. If you are a dependent student, you may also need records of your parents’ income information.
  4. The Social Security Number(s) of your parent(s)
  5. The income and financial records (as listed above) of your parent(s)

Be sure to keep all of the documentation that you gather to complete the FAFSA. You may need this later if your application is chosen for verification.

Now that you know what documents you need, below is a list of the steps and questions you will go through in the application form.


What do I need to fill out during my FAFSA application process?

HOW does the FAFSA form look? And, HOW does it use those documents you’ve gathered?

Step 1 – Student Information

  1. Name, Address, Social Security Number and Date of Birth
  2. Driver’s License Number & State ID
  3. Email Address
  4. Citizenship & Immigration Status
  5. Marital Status
  6. Legal Residence
  7. Gender
  8. Selective Service
  9. Prior Drug Convictions
  10. Parents Level of Education
  11. Students Education Details
  12. Student Grade Level
  13. Degree or Certificate Seeking
  14. Work Study

Step 2 – Student Financial Information

  1. Student Income Tax Return
  2. Income Tax Return Details
  3. Schedule 1 (Form 1040)”
  4. Student & Spousal Adjusted Gross Income, Income Tax, Tax Earnings. Besides Total Balance of Cash, Investments / Businesses
  5. Additional Student Financial Information
  6. Student Untaxed Income


  1. Age Before Jan 1
  2. Current Marital Status
  3. Graduate Program Status
  4. Military Status
  5. Legal Dependents
  6. Ward of State
  7. Emancipated Minor
  8. Legal Guardianship
  9. Homelessness

Step 4 – Parent Information

  1. Marital Status
  2. Social Security Information
  3. Residency Status & Household Occupants Attending College
  4. Federal Benefit Status
  5. Income Tax Return
  6. Parent’s Eligibility for Schedule 1 (Form 1040)
  7. Dislocated Worker
  8. Adjusted Gross Income
  9. Income Tax
  10. Parents Income Information
  11. Total Balance of Cash
  12. Parent’s Investments
  13. Current Businesses
  14. Additional Financial Information
  15. Untaxed Income

Step 5 – Student Household Information

  1. Student Household Information
  2. Student Federal Benefit Status
  3. Dislocated Worker Status

Step 6 and 7 – Send, Sign, and Date

  1. Schools to Receive FAFSA
  2. FAFSA Sign Off

Below are some links that you might find useful:

Lori Pace
Lori Pace

Lori Pace is a single mother of three daughters ages 7 and under. As a working mom from home, she balances kids, work and two crazy dogs with humor and love. Follow Lori as she honestly gives tips and advice based on her own experiences as a single mom!