FAFSA Information

What is the FAFSA?

The FAFSA, officially known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the form that families fill out to apply for federal grants, loans, and work-study funds for college students. It is administered by the U.S. Department of Education, which provides more than $150 billion in student aid each year. To apply for federal student aid, you need to complete the FAFSA.

Carroll College's FAFSA School Code is 002526.

Why should I file the FAFSA?

If you would like to be considered for any federal need-based aid (Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, Stafford loans, and Federal Work-Study) or Carroll College need-based aid, you must complete the FAFSA. It is easy if you take a few steps to get prepared.

What do I need for the FAFSA?

You will need your and/or your parents' tax returns for income and tax data, as well as your personal information. You also need to know that Carroll College's FAFSA School Code is 002526. You can pull up the online FAFSA pre-application to get an idea of the questions you'll need to answer.

Also, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), which allows automatic population of a student's FAFSA with tax return data and decreases the need for additional documentation, can be used by millions more students and families under PPY (see below), since the data from two-years prior would be readily available upon application.

When can I file the FAFSA?

President Obama announced on September 14, 2015, that the FAFSA will switch from prior-year (PY) )to prior-prior-year (PPY) income and tax data, and that the 2023-2024 FAFSA will be available in October 2022, so students can use the PPY's (2021) completed income tax return. That means that instead of waiting until you and/or your parents have completed your tax returns for the previous year, you will be able to complete the FAFSA using information from two years prior. 

Please watch the quick video below to learn more about how you'll benefit from this new move to using prior-prior year income data.


FAFSA Filing Deadlines

The results of your FAFSA or the expected family contribution will be sent to each school you list on the FAFSA. Carroll's priority deadline for receipt of the FAFSA is December 1 of each year. Additionally, processed FAFSA results must be received by Carroll College by February 1 for consideration for institutional need-based aid.

Carroll College recommends filing the FAFSA electronically in order to expedite processing. The estimated processing time for electronic applications is 48-72 hours vs. 3-4 weeks for a paper application.

Get a FSA User ID

If you are a first-time electronic filer, please request a Department of Education FSA USER ID, which will serve as your signature on the FAFSA. Click below to expand the instructions.

Gather the necessary materials ahead of time:

[ ] If you are a first-time electronic filer, please request a Department of Education FSA USER ID, which will serve as your signature on the FAFSA. For dependent students, a parent must also request an FSA USER ID. FSA USER ID's are required for submitting the FAFSA, making corrections, and checking the status of your application. CREATING AND USING THE FSA ID

[ ] Social Security Number

[ ] Your parents' financial records, including most recent federal income tax returns, with all schedules; W-2 forms and other records of most recent earnings; current bank statements, mortgage information, business, farm or investment records; 1099 forms; and records of untaxed income, Veteran, Social Security and Welfare benefits.

A process referred to as IRS Data Retrieval (available in mid-February 2016), will enable Title IV student aid applicants and parents of dependent applicants to transfer certain federal tax information from an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website directly to their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the Web application.  The intent is to simplify and streamline the student aid application experience for students and parents. 

Allowing applicants to transfer information directly from the IRS' database into the electronic FAFSA application will reduce time, effort, and data entry for FAFSA applicants and their parents.  It will also improve data accuracy and consistency, reduce the need for corrections and minimize the possibility of verification selection.

[ ] It's easier to fill out the FAFSA if you have a completed 2021 federal tax return, but you can use estimates rather than missing a deadline.  Applicants can file the FAFSA earlier (using estimated information), and then return to the saved electronic FAFSA to retreive IRS data once federal taxes have been completed.  Applicants will be able to use the FASFA-IRS Data Retrieval process when making online corrections to their FAFSA - not just at time of initial FAFSA completion.  

[ ] Have your information sent to Carroll College, code 002526.

Read all instructions thoroughly.  Work through each step carefully and accurately.  Careless errors can cost you time which may mean missed deadlines and dollars!  Avoid the most common mistakes:

  • Spelling name incorrectly. Spell your name exactly as it appears on your Social Security card.  Using a nickname or other name will cause delays. 
  • Leaving a field blank
  • Not reporting ALL untaxed income
  • Not reporting step parent information
  • Reporting the wrong "taxes paid"
  • Incorrect number of family members attending post-secondary education
  • Not signing the form or filing on time

Errors made in completing the FAFSA and/or supplemental forms may delay application processing and result in the loss of financial aid funds.

For additional FAFSA video instructions, visit the SmartAboutCollege website.

The video below will also give you additional information about creating your FSA ID.

Ready get started?

Start your FAFSA at FASFA.gov »

After your FAFSA is submitted

After your FAFSA is submitted you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR).

The SAR reports your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the number used in determining your eligibility for federal student aid. From the EFC, the college will determine your demonstrated financial need.

Here is an example:

2023-2024 Estimated Cost of Attendance (COA):$55,632
Expected Family Contribution (EFC):($5,123)
Demonstrated Financial Need:$50,509

NOTE: Need varies based on cost of attendance

Your FAFSA results will be sent to you and to the schools that you listed on your application. If you file electronically, the results are available on-line. If you file a paper application, you will receive the results in the mail.


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