FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid and it is an important first step to the financial aid process. Filling out the FAFSA application is your path to thousands of dollars in financial aid to help you pay for college. The form determines your eligibility for financial aid rewards such as such as grants, work-study, and loans. It is also used to award state aid. Read the helpful guide below to keep you organized and avoid common FAFSA mistakes.
The FAFSA form is available on October 1 for the next school year. We encourage you to fill it out as soon as possible on or after October 1. However, the FAFSA for 2024-25 will not be available until December 2023. The process may take up to eight weeks. You will need Western Iowa Tech's Federal School Code: 004590. Select the 2023-24 FAFSA Form if you will be attending college starting the fall of 2023.
Start Your FAFSA Application
Your Guide to the FAFSA
2023-24 Academic Year
FAFSA forms must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Central time (CT) on June 30, 2024. Any corrections or updates must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CT on Sept. 10, 2024. The FAFSA for 2024-25 will not be available until December 2023.
2023-24 Academic Year
July 1, 2023, by midnight CT. Earlier priority deadlines may exist for certain programs. Additional forms may be required.
What You Need Before You Start
You will need the following documents ready to go before you start your FAFSA application. Keep these records handy in case you need them again.
- Your Social Security Number.
- Your parents’ Social Security numbers if you are a dependent student.
- Your driver’s license number (if you have one).
- Your Alien Registration number (if you are not a U.S. citizen).
- Tax returns (see studentaid.gov/apply-for-aid/fafsa/filling-out) for you (and your spouse if you are married) and for your parents (if you are a dependent student).
- Records of untaxed income (child support, interest income, and veterans non-education benefits, etc.) for you and for your parents (if you are a dependent student).
- Information on cash, savings, checking account balances, investments, stocks, bonds, real estate (not including the home you live in) and business and farm assets for you and for your parents (if you are a dependent student).
- Learn more on needed documents
Create a FSA ID
Your first step is creating an FSA ID, a username and password to create an account. We recommend creating an FSA ID ahead of time to cut down on errors and delays. If you’re a dependent student, a parent will also need a unique FSA ID.
- Provide both a cell number and email address. Use a general email account, not a school account
- Create an FSA ID for yourself and a parent - ASAP. Some of the biggest problems occur when students wait until the last minute to create an FSA ID. It may take a few days to verify your account.
- Keep individual FSA ID’s separate. Sometimes students and parents get their FSA ID’s mixed up which can cause delays.
- Learn more on creating an FSA ID
Questions Asked in the FAFSA
The FAFSA will ask you a series of questions that determine your eligibility for federal student aid. Here is a list of helpful hints to assist you during the application process.
- Preview the questions you may be asked while completing the FAFSA.
- Your dependency status determines whose information you must report on the FAFSA.
- If you’re a dependent student, you will report your and your parents’ information. It doesn’t mean your parents are required to pay for your education.
- If you’re an independent student, you will report your own information (and your spouse’s if you are married).
- When filling out financial information, use the IRS Data Retrieval tool. It will import your tax data into your FAFSA, reducing time and errors.
- In the school section you will be asked to provide a list of your prospective colleges. Add every school you're considering, even if you haven't applied or been accepted yet. Your FAFSA information is sent to each school on your list.
- Pay attention to whether you’re being asked for student or parent information. When the FAFSA form says “you” or “your,” it’s referring to the student (unless otherwise noted).
- Choose the option to complete a “renewal” FAFSA form. It will save your demographic information for next year.
Sign and Submit
To complete the FAFSA, you (and your parent if you are a dependent) have to sign it. The easiest way to sign the FAFSA form is online with your FAFSA ID. After clicking “submit” don’t leave yet! Complete the “Iowa Common Application” in order to access grants and scholarships available through the state of Iowa.
Complete Your Aid
Congratulations! You have submitted your FAFSA application, and completed your first step in securing financial aid. Find out what your next step is in the financial aid process.