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Your FAFSA Checklist

The FAFSA enables students to qualify for financial aid for college. This article shows what documents you’ll need to gather to fill out the form.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a staple to the college application process — helping students unlock access to various forms of financial aid to help pay for college. You can see it as your gateway to qualifying for need-based aid, federal student loans and even for merit-based aid from many individual colleges (including micro-scholarships on RaiseMe for some schools). Whether you’re just getting acquainted with the aid form, or even if this isn’t your first rodeo, we understand how filling out the FAFSA can feel like a Pandora’s box of unknowns. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Like anything else, a bit of preparation can go a long way in knocking out something intimidating as efficiently and smoothly as possible. We’ve pulled together a list of the financial documents and personal identification details you’ll need to tackle the FAFSA!

Choose the checklist most relevant to you, based on your citizenship and dependency status. The distinction between dependent and independent student is an important factor when filing your FAFSA, as it helps determine you and your family’s financial situations — therefore helping indicate the aid you are eligible to receive. Check out FAFSA’s article to determine your dependency status.

What you need to get together before you start FAFSA

For U.S. Citizens

Your Items Your Parent(s)’ or Guardian(s)’
Items
Social Security numberSocial Security numbers
W-2 forms and any other
documents showing money earned 
W-2 forms and any other
documents showing money earned
Federal income tax return 
(for you AND your spouse, if
you are married)
Federal income tax returns 
Untaxed income documents 
(examples include: interest
income) 
Untaxed income documents
(examples include: interest income
or child report received)
Assets records 
(examples include: information on
real estate, businesses, stocks and
bonds)  
Assets records 
(examples include: information on
real estate, businesses, stocks and
bonds) 
Current bank statements Current bank statements 
FSA ID
(you will need to create an FSA ID to
complete the financial aid form
on FAFSA.gov) 
FSA ID 
(your parent will also need to create a FSA
ID to complete the financial aid
form on FAFSA.gov) 
Driver’s license
(if you have one)

RaiseMe Insight: If you are an independent student, please note that the parent and guardian requirements do not apply to you.

For Non-U.S. Citizens

Your ItemsYour Parent(s)’ or Guardian(s)’
Items
W-2 forms and any other
documents showing money earned 
W-2 forms and any other
documents showing money earned 
Federal income tax return 
(for you AND your spouse, if you
are married)
Federal income tax returns
Untaxed income documents 
(examples include: interest income) 
Untaxed income documents 
(examples include: interest income) 
Assets records 
(examples include: information on
real estate, businesses, stocks and
bonds) 
Assets records 
(examples include: information on
real estate, businesses, stocks and
bonds) 
FSA ID 
(you will need to create an FSA ID
to complete the financial aid
form on FAFSA.gov) 
FSA ID 
(your parents will also
need to create an FSA ID to complete the
financial aid form on
FAFSA.gov) 
Alien Registration number
(your A-Number is the eight or nine digit
code U.S. Citizenship and
Immigration Services (USCIS)
documents, such as your
Green Card, Employment
Authorization Document,
Immigrant Visa, among others) 

Once you compile all your materials, you are in a great place to get started on the filing process and officially on your way to accessing money for college. You can set up your FSA ID and begin the application here. Good luck and you got this!

Samantha leads community engagement at RaiseMe. By sharing helpful resources and conveying student stories, Samantha hopes to help students define and find their paths to and through college.

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