Tips on Completing the FAFSA

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

By completing the FAFSA, you are able to apply for all the federal and state aid, and also for all Northwest University institutional aid (foundation, partnership, alumni and outside scholarships have additional applications). 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 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 two years prior to the academic year for which you are applying for financial aid. For example, to complete the 2019-2020 FAFSA, use income info from the 2017 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 Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID)

Before filling out your FAFSA, apply for an FSA ID so that you can sign your FAFSA and any other Department of Education documents electronically. Your FAFSA can be processed weeks faster when you sign with your FSA ID. If you're a dependent student, your parents will also need to apply for an FSA ID.

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 FSA ID and sign your FAFSA electronically. If you don't have an FSA ID, you can apply for one—or 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 too.