Wait, FAFSA?

Author: Ben Bishop
Published on: March 22, 2019

One of the most common types of aid available for students is federal financial aid. This type of aid includes grants like the Pell Grant and student loans. Grants are not loans and do not need to be repaid. To apply for federal financial aid please complete a Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

We at Boise Bible College in the Financial Aid Office are here to help you through all the processes. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have a question. However, there are some common questions about federal financial aid that we can help answer now:

Can I get Federal Aid?

As long as you are eligible you can receive federal financial aid. That would mean that you are

  • a citizen or eligible non-citizen of the United States.
  • Have a valid Social Security Number.
  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or have completed homeschooling.
  • Be enrolled in an eligible program as a regular student seeking a degree or certificate.

What will I need to fill out the FAFSA?

To complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you will need:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
  • Your federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned. (Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)
  • Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
  • Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
  • An FSA ID to sign electronically.

If you are a dependent student, then you will also need most of the above information for your parent(s) too.

What is a FSA ID and how do my parents and I get one?

The FSA (Federal Student Aid) ID allows students and parents to identify themselves electronically to access FSA websites.

An FSA ID is made up of a username and password and can be used to log into FAFSA on the Web.

While you are not required to have an FSA ID to complete and submit a FAFSA on the Web application, it is the fastest way to sign your application and have it processed. It is also the only way to access or correct your information online, or to pre-fill a FAFSA on the Web application with information from your previous year’s FAFSA.

If you do not already have an FSA ID, you can create an FSA ID. If you have already created a FSA ID, but have forgotten it, you can access your username or update your password.

 Will I need my parents’ information?

If you can answer Yes to any of the following questions, you are considered an independent student on the 2018-2019 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and you generally will not need to provide your parents’ information.

If you can answer No to all of the following questions, you are considered a dependent student and generally, your parents must provide parental information on your FAFSA:

  • Were you born before January 1, 1995?
  • As of today are you married?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  • Do you now have or will you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019?
  • Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2019?
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
  • If you are not sure if you were in foster care, check with your state child welfare agency. You can find out the contact information for your state child welfare agency by visiting your state child welfare agency.

If you have a special circumstance, you may still be able to submit your FAFSA. If that is the case or if you have any concerns about this, please contact the financial office. We may be able to help depending on the situation.

Who is considered a parent?

A legal parent includes a biological or adoptive parent, or a person that the state has determined to be your parent (for example, when a state allows another person’s name to be listed as a parent on a birth certificate). Grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers or sisters, widowed stepparents, and aunts and uncles are not considered parents unless they have legally adopted you.

How can my parent help me fill out the FAFSA, if they’re not together?

The key to completing a FAFSA with your parent when you aren’t together is something called the Save Key. The Save Key is a short, temporary password you can give someone when it is time for them to work on your FAFSA. Here’s how it works:


  • On the “Login” page, you can start a FAFSA with your FSA ID (on the left) or your parent can start it with your name, Social Security Number and date of birth (on the right).
  • Whoever starts the FAFSA will be prompted to create a Save Key. Make a note of it.
  • Whenever the first person is done with their part, save the FAFSA and close out of it.
  • Give the other person the Save Key. Then that person can use the Save Key to get into the partially completed FAFSA and do his or her part. A parent never needs to use your FSA ID because they can get in by entering your (the student’s) identifiers on the right side of the “Login” screen.
  • When everyone is done with their parts of the FAFSA, be sure to click Submit My FAFSA Now at the bottom of the “Signature Status” page. You are not done until you see the “Confirmation” page, which you should read and save for your records. If your parent has another child in school, there is a link on the “Confirmation” page to start a new FAFSA for that child, allowing your parent to transfer much of their information and save time.

It is very important that you and your parent create and use your own FSA IDs. The FSA ID acts as a legal signature and should not be shared.

If your parent does not have a Social Security Number, he or she will not be able to get an FSA ID. In that case your parent will print, sign, and mail in a paper signature page.

Taxes are tricky, is there an easy way to enter that information?

Most students and parents who filed a U.S tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) if they have already filed their taxes.

However, there are a few scenarios in which students and parents are ineligible to use the IRS DRT, such as:

  • The student/parent is married, and either the student/parent or his/her spouse filed as Married Filing Separately.
  • The student/parent is married, and either the student/parent or his/her spouse filed as Head of Household.
  • The parents’ marital status is “Unmarried and both legal parents living together.”
  • The student/parent filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return.

Any students or parents who meet the above criteria will need to enter their tax return information manually.

Additionally, students or parents who filed their tax returns electronically within the last three weeks, or through the mail within the last 11 weeks, might need to enter their tax return information manually or return at a later date to transfer their tax return information into the FAFSA, as their tax return information might not be available for transfer from the IRS.

However, students and parents who are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) can access it from within the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the student or parent finances pages:

  1. Click Link To IRS. (Note: If you have already used the IRS DRT to transfer your tax return information into your application, click the “View option to link to the IRS” hyperlink.)
  • Enter your FSA ID. (Note: The person whose tax information is being transferred should enter his or her own FSA ID. Students will not be asked to enter their FSA ID if they entered an FSA ID to begin their FAFSA.)
  • Your FAFSA will be saved and you will be transferred to the IRS Web site.
  • On the IRS Web site, enter the requested information exactly as it appears on your tax return. If you get an error that there’s no match, double check your information, including the exact mailing address on your return.
  • Once authenticated with the IRS, you will be provided with information surrounding your IRS tax information. You can either transfer your information from the IRS, or choose to return to FAFSA on the Web.

If you use the IRS DRT to transfer your tax return information from the IRS, the information will not display on your FAFSA. For your protection, the answer to each question is replaced with “Transferred from the IRS.”

I submitted my FAFSA; what now?

If you submitted your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online using FAFSA on the Web, then the U.S. Department of Education will process your application within 3-5 days. If you submitted a paper FAFSA, your application will be processed within 7-10 days.

Once your application is processed, you will receive a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR), which summarizes the information you provided on your FAFSA. Review your SAR and make sure all of the information is complete and accurate. If there is any missing or incorrect information, then you should complete or correct your FAFSA as soon as possible.

Your SAR will include your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC determines your eligibility for a Federal Pell Grant, and the college uses the EFC to assess your eligibility for other federal and nonfederal student aid.

It may be the case that we may need to ask for additional information to process your award. If that is the case Boise Bible College will contact you.


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