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Tips on Completing the FAFSA

The quickest way to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is to complete the application on-line at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

By completing the FAFSA, you are able to apply for all the federal and state aid, and also for all Northwest University institutional aid. Following are some helpful hints to completing your FAFSA on-line.

These tips and other resources can be found on the FAFSA Tip Sheet at www.studentaid.ed.gov. Tips have been modified.

FAFSA Checklist

What you need:

  • Your Social Security Number.
  • Your driver's license number, if you have one.
  • Your W-2 Forms.
  • Your federal income tax return.
  • Current bank statements and records of stocks, bonds, and other investments.
  • Records of other untaxed income received.
  • Your business or farm records, if applicable.
  • If you are NOT a US citizen, your alien registration number.
  • Northwest University School Code: 003783. You will need this number if you want Northwest University to get a copy of your application.

Financial and income records should be for the calendar year prior to the academic year for which you are applying for financial aid. For example, to complete the 2009-2010 FAFSA, use income info from the 2008 tax year.

Dependent Students: Your parents will also need the same information and forms to complete their section of the FAFSA. Remember your FAFSA cannot be processed without their information and signature.

Get a PIN

Before filling out your FAFSA, follow the link to apply for a PIN so that you can sign your FAFSA and any other Department of Education documents electronically. If you do not have an e-mail address, it will take 7-10 days for your PIN to be mailed to you. Your FAFSA can be processed weeks faster when you sign with your PIN. If you're a dependent student, your parents will also need to apply for a PIN. Tip: You may use your PIN for the duration of your school experience and beyond. The PIN stays the same.

Print the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet

Some find that this helps them organize information before starting the FAFSA online.

Save your FAFSA

Use the SAVE button, and use it often to prevent losing information you have already put in. If you ever need to come back to your on-line FAFSA, remember to hit SAVE so that you can log back on and start right where you left off.

Ask for Help

If you're not sure about a question, there is free help available to you. Just click on any of the HELP buttons, or to chat with a customer service representative, click on the CHAT button.

Sign Your Application

You can use your PIN and sign your FAFSA electronically. If you don't have a PIN, you can print off a signature page then send it in. Remember that your FAFSA is not valid without a signature. For dependent students, your FAFSA is not valid and cannot be processed without a parent signature.

Submit Your Application

Don't forget to click the SUBMIT button on the very last page of the online FAFSA form. There will be a confirmation page that comes up after you have submitted the FAFSA, along with a confirmation number. Print the page and keep it for your records.

After the FAFSA

After submitting your FAFSA on-line, you should receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) by e-mail in about five days if you provide an e-mail address. Otherwise, you will receive it in the mail after about two weeks. Once you receive your SAR, make sure all the information is correct. If you remembered to put our school code in your list of schools, Northwest University will automatically receive a copy of your FAFSA as well.