This year parents and students file financial aid forms in October and November. Forms can be filed later but the later families wait, the bigger the risk that families will miss the priority financial aid deadline at their school.
To file the FAFSA, one parent and the student must apply for an FSAID at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FSAID is the parent and student userid and password for the FAFSA. Apply for the FSAID at least 2-3 days before attempting to file the FAFSA.
File the FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Although the opportunity to have the IRS populate tax data exists, sometimes families have to enter the data. Prior to filing the FAFSA, have the 2015 federal tax return with W-2 forms available along with a list of balances in checking, savings and investments. Completing the FAFSA will only take about 30 minutes. The FSAID of the student and parent will be used to sign the FAFSA.
Depending on the colleges to which the student is applying, families may also have to file the CSS Profile. The CSS Profile takes about an hour to complete and families will need to have their 2015 tax return, W-2 forms, mortgage and banking information available. There is a fee to file the CSS Profile which is a form that can be accessed on the college board website.