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Senior Families: Prep for FAFSA/ WASFA


Steps for FAFSA/ WASFA

Both the FAFSA and the WASFA opened October 1, 2019. We recommend that senior families with students who will start college in the fall of 2019 fill out the form between October 1 and early December. 

Families with a student who will start college in 2020 should fill out the 2020-2021 FAFSA or WASFA. 

Families will do either the FAFSA or the WASFA, not both. Most families will do the FAFSA. Some will do the WASFA due to immigration status. If you aren't sure which one you should fill out, see this FAFSA or WASFA graphic. 

For an overview and step-by-step guide, see this excellent FAFSA Completion Guide 2020-2021 or the FAFSA/ Financial Aid Presentation given by Kimberly Shephard from Seattle U for our October 8 FAFSA/ WASFA Night. Good luck tackling this first step to college financial aid! 

For guidance and personalized assistance with the FAFSA or WASFA, please come to our evening event on October 8. See below for more information and refer to this 2020-2021 FAFSA Checklist to prepare. 

If you have not started the process, please see below. 


Pre-FAFSA Tasks

  1. Set up FSA ID. The student needs one and one parent needs one. Fill out FSA ID worksheet first, then do the task on This can be done well ahead of October 1 of Senior Year. 
  2. Determine FAFSA parent
  3. Download worksheet and go through the sequence (optional; see below). 

Gather Documents to Fill Out FAFSA/ WASFA

For a downloadable list, see the 2020-2021 FAFSA Checklist

  • Social Security card for parent and student, or Alien Registration Number
  • Driver’s license number (if you have one)
  • 2018 Tax Records
  • 2018 Federal Income Tax Return (IRS 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ) for parent and for student (if the student filed taxes)
  • W-2 forms, 1099 forms for parent and student if the student filed taxes
  • Records of other 2018 income (child support, welfare benefits, Social Security income, interest income, military benefits, etc.)
  • Current bank/ brokerage statements
  • You will be asked for current balances of $ on hand on the date you sign the FAFSA, not 2018 balances. 
  • List of colleges you are applying to (you can add more schools later).
  • Federal School Codes for each college: 

Optional Pre-FAFSA Practice Exercise

  1. Download the 2019-2020 FAFSA Worksheet. This worksheet is from last year and it is only for prep. It cannot be sent in as a real FAFSA. 
  2. Become familiar with the content of the FAFSA and fill out the worksheet by hand. 
  3. When you fill out the online FAFSA, transfer information from paper to the fields on the online form, checking carefully for differences between last year's worksheet and this year's web version. 


Help with the FAFSA

Download this excellent FAFSA Completion Guide 2020-2021 for a step-by-step but not overwhelming walkthrough.  



Resources/ Sites for Financial Aid Process

2020-2021 FAFSA Checklistt to help you gather documents and bits of information. 
FAFSA Completion Guide 2020-2021 will walk you through the process. 
Set up FSA ID
See handy graphic: Determine FAFSA Parent
Fill out FAFSA
Fill out WASFA
More Links & Resources