FAFSA Tips and Information for Students and Parents
FAFSA on the Web.
Federal Student Aid has a website with information and videos on filling out the FAFSA. If you have general questions, it is a good place to start:
For help Filling out the FAFSA.
If you need more help, please call our office at 515-271-2905 or 1-800-44-DRAKE Ext. 2905.
Important things to remember about the FAFSA:
- The FSA ID is a permanent and unique username/password combination tied to one social security number. Both the student and at least one reporting parent needs their own FSA ID to complete the FAFSA. When logging into Federal Student Aid sites (FAFSA.gov, NSLDS.gov, studentloans.gov, and studentaid.gov) there will be an option to creat a FSA ID if one has not been created for an individual. The FSA ID can also be created and managed at fsaid.ed.gov. Once the FSA ID is created for a particula individual, it will take about 3 days for it to go through verification at the Social Security Administration. During thes time, the FSA ID will have limited application at the various sites until the verification is complete. However, it can be used to sign the FAFSA immediately. A secure code may also be sent to the unique email address used to create the FSA ID in order to use the email address as a user name, and also in the event the password needs to be reset. See FSA ID FAQ for more information.
- There are student and parent sections on the FAFSA, pay attention to which section is currently being completed. One of the most common mistakes Drake receives is duplicated information for either the parent or student.
- The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) is provided on the FAFSA if you meet certain criteria. The DRT allows a student or parent(s) to link to the IRS website where the financial information is transferred over to your FAFSA automatically. Using the DRT satisfies the financial segment of verification, if selected.
- If the Data Retrieval Tool is not available for any reason, you may order/download a tax transcript. Only certain transcripts are acceptable for verification, if selected. The Tax Return Transcript is the best option for most tax filers and always acceptable, however the Tax Account Transcript is NOT acceptable in any circumstance. You can download or order online at irs.gov under “Get My Tax Record”. Signing up for an account if required and several steps are used to verify identity. A cell phone in the name of the person signing up for the account is required. If this is not an option, a tax transcript can be ordered by phone (1-800-809-9946, follow prompts) or by fax or mail with form 4506T-EZ. Allow 2 weeks to receive a mailed tax transcript.
For all non-tax filers that are selected for verification except dependent students, a confirmation of non-filing letter from the IRS is required. These can be ordered via form 4506-T, indicating a Verification of Non-filing is required. The form must be filled out completely (name, address, SSN, year requested, signed, etc) and can be faxed or mailed to the appropriate IRS office indicated in the instructions. An individual can also return the completed form to the Office of Student Financial Planning and we will fax it for you. Any confirmation of non-filing letters turned in need to have the students name and ID number on them for identification purposes.
Am I Dependent or Independent?
Under very limited circumstances (for example, your parents are incarcerated; you have left home due to an abusive family environment; or you do not know where your parents are and are unable to contact them), you may be able to submit your FAFSA without parental information. If you feel you may have a special circumstance, please contact our office.