FAFSA Facts: How to Fill Out Your FAFSA Form Like a Pro


According to USA Today, the average cost of a public, in-state college is $10,116 per year. The average cost of a private college is $36,801 per year.

Thankfully, this is only the sticker price.

Many students are eligible for loans and grants, reducing the out-of-pocket cost of college per year.

However, the student needs to fill out the FAFSA form to become eligible for financial aid.

The form may seem intimidating, but don’t worry. Keep reading and we’ll tell you everything you need to know so you can breeze through the form with confidence.

What is the FAFSA?

The FAFSA Form is a government financial aid tool that determines how much money in federal student loans you are eligible to take out.

It also determines your eligibility for a Pell Grant, which are awarded to students with financial need.

Loans will need to be repaid, but the Pell Grant does not. The federal government determines both of these figures by analyzing you and your family’s income and assets.

The FAFSA opens on October 1, 2019, and closes June 30, 2020. Please note that many schools need the FAFSA to be completed before June 30th. Check with an admissions counselor if you’re unsure when your deadline is.

You must submit a new FAFSA Form every year that you are in college.

Create an FSA ID

The first step to filling out the FAFSA Form is creating an FSA ID, which is a username and password. If the student is dependent, please note that the student and the parent will both need separate FSA IDs.

Your FSA ID will also allow you to log in to the myStudentAid app and sign loan contracts.

Gather Necessary Documents

Most first-time college students will be considered dependent. Note that the definition of dependency for the FAFSA Form differs from the dependency for taxes. If you have any doubts about your status, read this guide.

Here are the documents that the student and parent should gather before starting the FAFSA:

  • The student’s Social Security Number
  • The parents’ Social Security Number (if dependent)
  • The student’s Driver’s License Number (if applicable)
  • The student’s Alien Registration Number (if applicable)
  • Tax information for the student, the student’s spouse (if married), and the student’s parents (if dependent)
  • Additional income information like untaxed income, child support, etc. for both the student and the parents (if dependent)
  • Asset information like cash, account balances, etc.

If your parents are married or they are unmarried but live together, you must report both parents’ financial information.

If your parents are divorced, you will only report the financial information for the parent you live with the most. If you spend an equal amount of time with your parents, then you will only report the income of the parent that contributes more money to you.

If the parent you are reporting has remarried, you must also factor in the step-parent’s income in your FAFSA.

Create a Save Key

Before you start filling out the FAFSA Form, you first must create a Save Key. This is a temporary password so you can save your progress and return to the same form later.

You can share your Save Key with your parents so they can make edits onto the same FAFSA Form. This is especially helpful if the student and parents are not in the same city.

FAFSA Renewal

If you filled out a FAFSA last year, you have the option to renew your FAFSA. In your My FAFSA account, select “Renew FAFSA.” Many of the non-financial questions will be filled out for you.

If any of your information has changed from the previous year, remember to make updates on your current FAFSA.

Note that only students can start the FAFSA application, so parents can only access their student’s form after the student has created it.

Select School

If you are a high school senior, select every college that you’re thinking of applying to. You can select up to 10 schools.

These schools will automatically receive your financial information. They can use that to help determine the financial aid letter they will send you.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool

When you are on the “Parent Financials” and “Student Financials” tabs, you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This will allow the IRS to automatically fill in your tax information for you.

You will be redirected to the IRS website where you will need to enter your information exactly as it appears on your tax return. Then, you will transfer that information back to the FAFSA.

The information transferred successfully if your FAFSA Form says “Transferred from the IRS.” Note that you will not be able to see or edit any numbers.

If your parents divorced during the last year or if a parent has remarried, you will have to manually calculate their tax information. 

Sign and Submit the FAFSA Form

Once the FAFSA Form is complete, then the student and parents need to sign and submit it. Note that the student must sign and submit using their FSA ID and the parents must use their own FSA ID.

If the parents have other children in college, they can use the same FSA ID for every child. At the confirmation page, the parents will be given the option to transfer their tax information onto their other children’s FAFSAs.

If your parent does not have a Social Security Number, they must print out the signature page and manually sign the FAFSA. Then, they must mail in their signature.

You’re One Step Closer to the New School Year

You can rest easy because your FAFSA form is now complete for the upcoming school year. Your college can now use your FAFSA information to give you a personalized financial aid letter.

If you want to reduce the cost of college further, you can opt to live with roommates or rent your textbooks. Save money and check out our wide selection of textbooks and eBooks.

Top Reasons Why Half Priced Textbook Rentals Fly Off The Shelf

half priced textbook

On average, college students of all types spend well over $1000 on their school books and supplies. When added onto all of the other expenses students pay throughout their studies, this is money most can’t spare.

But what else is a student to do? They need their books.

That’s where half-priced textbook rentals come to the rescue. With the help of these rentals, students won’t struggle as much to make ends meet. They’ll get the books they need without sacrificing anything else.

If you’ve never heard of textbook rentals before, keep reading. We’ll explain all the different ways they help students everywhere.

Same Quality for a Fraction of the Cost

The biggest concern with school books is the price. And the problem is that these prices continue to rise every year. Most students struggle to keep up with these rising costs.

That’s why discount textbooks are such a great asset to any student. Regardless of where you’re attending or how long you’ve been at it, rentals are the best way to save a big chunk of money.

Even though they’re rentals, they’re kept at a high-quality. It’ll be much like having a brand new book, but for a fraction of the price.

It’s the perfect solution for anyone who only needs a book for a short while.

Pick the Best Match For You

When it’s time to find the textbooks you need, it’s not uncommon for shops nearby to only have one copy or one edition. If you use an online rental company, you have a much wider search available to you.

Choose between different editions or whether the book is new or used. Most places keep their books as pristine as possible but some sell books with defects. If you don’t mind a bit of highlighter on the pages, you’ll get yourself the books at an even cheaper price.

There are also ways to search for books with or without online access codes, depending on your needs. Not all classes require an access code for a book, so find the right rental place to get the kind you need.

Don’t forget to check with the professor beforehand to ensure that you don’t get the wrong type.

Stop Keeping Books You No Longer Need

Depending on the courses you take, your textbook collection may grow more and more each semester. If you’re buying the books, there’s a good possibility you’ve got entire storage spaces dedicated to books you no longer need.

If you rent your books instead, you’ll never have unnecessary books taking up necessary space again. Those dorms aren’t very big after all, so there’s no need to use up valuable space.

On the other hand, you might find that you need the book for longer than you anticipated. Most rental companies cover this possibility as well.

Simple Returns After Use

When the semester is over and you’re done with your book, returning the book to the rental place is often an easy task. Print out the proper return label, seal it in a protective box, and ship the book back to the original company. It’s as simple as that.

The best part is that most companies help with the shipping costs, making the entire process free as well.

No Need to Worry About Selling

Once you’re done with a specific book, most of us want to try to sell the book to make up for the initial expense. But going through the selling process takes a lot of time. And there’s never any guarantee that you’ll find a buyer at all.

You may remain stuck with books you no longer need and a large hole in your bank account. No student with limited funds wants to deal with that kind of situation.

When you rent books, you’ll never have to worry about this process again. Instead of trying to find someone to buy your books, you’ll return the books straight to the company.

True, you won’t make any money in the exchange. But because rentals cost a fraction of a new textbook, it’s very possible you’ll end up with more money instead.

Find All Your Books in One Place

Finding the right books in physical shops is often a chore. Where one shop sells one course’s books, they might not have any of the other books you need.

With rental companies, you’ll have the possibility to search for all of your books in one place all from the comfort of your residence. It makes running around town trying to find that one last book far less of a chore.

To make the search even easier for you, make sure to note down the ISBN for each of your books. This makes the searching process a breeze, though the title and author name often are enough to find what you need.

Fast Delivery

The handy thing about physical shops is that you leave with your books in hand. If you’re on a time crunch, it might be a necessary decision.

But unlike most other online shops, textbook rental companies understand the urgency and need for the books they rent. They know that you need your books as soon as possible. They work hard to ensure that those books end up on your doorstep without any delays.

Shipping costs are not often too expensive either, keeping you well within your budget. Most offer free shipping if you meet a certain quota—an easy thing to achieve when you’re renting all your books for the semester in one go.

A Half-Priced Textbook Rental Saves You More than Money

With all of these benefits, it’s easy to see how half-priced textbook rentals help students in more than only monetary ways. The entire exchange is far more simplistic and less stressful. And if there’s one thing all students need less of, it’s stress.

Plus, rentals leave students free to focus on their studies rather than worrying about the status of their books.

If you find yourself struggling with textbooks and want a great alternative, browse our textbook rentals today!