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If you have a child planning to attend college during the 2024-25 school year, you have a role in completing the FAFSA.
Filing the FAFSA is the first step in financial aid to pay for college. For most students, completing the FAFSA requires information from a parent. Filing the FAFSA does not mean you have to provide financial support for your child in college, but information from at least one parent is required for your child to complete the FAFSA and qualify for federal aid, including the Pell Grant, Access Missouri, and the A+ Program.
Who needs to complete parent information on the FAFSA?
The purpose of the FAFSA is to determine household income that can be used to pay for college. For dependent students, the FAFSA requires financial information from at least one biological or adoptive parent. Legal guardians or other relatives should not complete the parental information section of the FAFSA.
In cases of separation or divorce, the parent who provides the most financial support is required to provide financial information. When completing the FAFSA, you will see a Parent Wizard that will help determine you who is considered a parent for each student applicant. This chart from Federal Student Aid can help you decide who should contribute information to the FAFSA.
Parents without a social security number will need to contribute information to the FAFSA. They will need a FSA ID and can apply for one here. When applying, click the box that says “I don’t have a social security number.” This will take you to the process for creating an FSA ID without a social security number. Parent information is kept secure, and only used for determining the student’s eligibility for financial aid. This blog from the National College Attainment Network has more information. Click here for instructions in Spanish on how to apply for an FSAID without a Social Security Number.
The FSA ID process for parents without a Social Security Number is working for some people, but not everyone. If you are not able to create an FSA ID, please wait for an updated process from FSA. Parents without a Social Security Number cannot currently contribute to the FAFSA form. Federal Student Aid is working on a fix to this issue.
What parents need to do
Step 1: Create a FSA ID
You will need to create a Federal Student Aid ID separate from your child’s, using your own phone number and email address to verify the account. Your FSA ID is the username and password you will use to access all Federal Student Aid websites, including StudentAid.gov which is home to the FAFSA form. Before you can start your FAFSA, your FSA ID must be verified by the Social Security Administration, which can take a few days. Create your FSA ID early. If you previously set up a FSA ID, you do not need to create a new one.
Step 2: Gather your information
Before completing your FAFSA, make sure you have the following information available:
Step 3: Complete the FAFSA
The FAFSA is open and accepting applications. Your child will start the FAFSA using their own FSA ID, and will invite you as a contributor to enter your financial information. Each school and state program has different priority deadlines. While it won’t make your student ineligible if they miss a priority deadline, the funding in many programs is offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so make sure you file early. Missouri’s deadline for need-based state aid is April 1.
Looking for help to complete the FAFSA? Find a FAFSA Frenzy event near you by clicking here.
Step 4: Review your FAFSA application
Review your FAFSA for accuracy and make any corrections necessary before you hit submit. For the FAFSA to be fully submitted, both the student and parent need to complete and sign their sections. Whoever completes last can submit the FAFSA. You should receive a confirmation email from Federal Student Aid. If not, log back in to make sure everything is completed.
Step 5: After you file
It could take several days to weeks to process your child’s FAFSA form. Your child can expect to receive a report called the FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS) with their Student Aid Index (SAI) in March. The FSS tells you what federal aid your child can expect to receive and what they are expected to pay towards their education. This will not include state aid, institutional grants, or private scholarships.
In April, the college financial aid offices will begin sending out financial aid offer letters that include a list of federal financial aid, plus any additional institutional aid they may qualify for. This financial aid offer letter may include loans, but students are not required to take out loans if they are not needed.
If you need to make corrections to the FAFSA, you will be able to do so in March once your student has received their FAFSA Submission Summary.