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Completing the FAFSA (Text Version)

Madison College students and prospective students seeking financial aid should review complete Financial Aid Application Procedures in additional to completing a Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA). Failure to review and complete all necessary requirements may prevent processing, awarding and/or disbursement (pay out) of financial aid.

Before Starting Your FAFSA:

  • Review Student Aid Eligibility requirements.
  • Gather all necessary tax and financial documents, such as income tax returns, W-2 forms, records of other income, drivers licenses and Social Security Numbers, for  yourself and/or your spouse or parent(s)
  • Apply for a Federal Student Aid PIN if you do not already have one.
  • Review the Department of Education's Completing the FAFSA guide for the year you are applying for complete instructions, FAQs and assistance with specific questions asked on the FAFSA.

To Complete the FAFSA:

  1. Go to the FAFSA website and select "Start A New FAFSA."
  2. Enter your name, date of birth and Social Security Number.
  3. Choose the aid year for the FAFSA you are filing.
  4. Create a password. Save this password; you will need it to access your FAFSA if you save it and return to it later, or if you are logged out of your application due to inactivity.
  5. Introduction Page - Review additional information provided by the links.
  6. Student Demographic Information - Provide contact information and answer demographic questions accurately. For assistance with fields, use the Helpful Hints sidebar (located to the right of the application content).
  7. Student Eligibility - Provide citizenship, academic and previous aid information, and express whether you would like consideration for work study funds.
  8. School Selection - Add schools that you would like to have access to your FAFSA information. Madison College's school code is 004007. A school cannot access your application unless you add them on this page.
  9. School Selection Summary - Review school selection and indicate a housing plan. The housing plan you select may affect aid awarded, depending on the awarding school.
  10. Dependency Determination - Answer questions to determine your dependency status. Dependent students will be prompted to provide parental information in addition to their own. Independent students will need to provide their own information and their spouse's, if married.
    • If IndependentYou will not be prompted to complete parent information sections unless you specify on the bottom of the Dependency Determination page that you want to provide it.
    • If Dependent - You will be prompted to provide parental information.
    1. Parent Demographics Information - Provide information about your parents as of the day you are completing the FAFSA. Depending on your answers, you may be required to answer questions on both parents, a parent and step-parent, or a single parent.
    2. Parent Tax Information- Provide your parent(s)' tax return filing status.
      • If your parent(s) "will file" or are "not going to file", they will need to manually provide tax/financial information.
      • If your parent(s) "already completed" their tax return, your parent(s) may, depending on the return status, be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool* to load data directly from a filed tax return. Complete the checklist questions to determine whether the IRS Data Retrieval Tool can be used. If, based on responses, data can be transferred:
        1. Your parent must enter his/her PIN and click "Link to IRS".
        2. A page will display notifying you that you are leaving FAFSA and that your information will be saved. Click "OK" to continue.
        3. You will automatically be redirected to the IRS.gov "Get My Federal Income Tax Information" web page.
        4. Your parent will need to enter all requested information and click "Submit."
        5. The following page will display tax information for use on the FAFSA and give the option to transfer or not transfer information to the FAFSA. 
        6. To transfer tax information, check the first box under "Transfer my Tax Information to the FAFSA" and then click the "Transfer Now" button.
        7. Exit the IRS website and return to your FAFSA using the buttons provided.
    3. Parent Financial Information - Provide information as requested. If your parent used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to provide tax information, the answers to these questions will be pre-filled and noted as being "transferred from the IRS."
  11. Student Tax Information- Provide your tax return filing status.
    • If you select "will file" or "not going to file", you will be manually providing tax/financial information.
    • If you select "already completed" you may, depending on the status of your filing, be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool* to load data directly from your filed tax return. Complete the checklist questions to determine whether the IRS Data Retrieval Tool can be used. If, based on your responses, data can be transferred:
      1. Enter your PIN and click "Link to IRS".
      2. A page will display notifying you that you are leaving FAFSA and that your information will be saved. Click "OK" to continue.
      3. You will automatically be redirected to the IRS.gov "Get My Federal Income Tax Information" web page.
      4. Enter all requested information and click "Submit."
      5. The following page will display tax information for use on the FAFSA and give the option to transfer or not transfer information to the FAFSA. 
      6. To transfer tax information, check the first box under "Transfer my Tax Information to the FAFSA" and then click the "Transfer Now" button.
      7. Exit the IRS website and return to your FAFSA using the buttons provided.
  12. Student Financial Information - Provide information as requested. If you used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to provide tax information, the answers to these questions will be pre-filled and noted as being "transferred from the IRS."
  13. Sign & Submit - Select how you will be signing/submitting your FAFSA and agree to the Terms of Agreement to submit. If you are a dependent student, your parent will also need to sign and agree to the Terms of Agreement. The easiest way to sign your FAFSA is electronically using your Federal Student Aid PIN. Your parent will require his/her own PIN to sign. You and/or your parent may apply for a PIN if either of you do not already have one.

*IRS Data Retrieval - The IRS Data Retrieval tool is available to retrieve data directly from a filed tax return for use on your FAFSA. Students who use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on their FAFSA and do not change any of the data elements retrieved will not be required to request and submit tax transcripts for themselves and/or their parents or spouses in the event that they are selected for verification. To prevent processing delays, all students are encouraged to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA wherever applicable.

Tax data will be available for retrieval on the FAFSA within:

  • 1-2 weeks if you filed your taxes electronically
  • 6-8 weeks if you filed your taxes with a paper tax return by mail.

After completing your FAFSA:

Your FAFSA will be processed by the FAFSA processor and an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be calculated for you. Your EFC indicates you/your family's financial ability to fund your post-secondary education. Madison College will use your EFC to determine your financial aid once your FAFSA results are transmitted to Madison College Financial Aid. For complete requirements and next steps, see Financial Aid Application Procedures.