What is the FAFSA?
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the first step to apply for federal aid such as grants, loans, and work-study. The Department of Education will use the information provided on your FAFSA and forward to the college(s) listed to determine eligibility.
What will I need to fill out the FAFSA?
- Have the school codes ready and your FSA ID created.
- Because the Alamo Colleges recommends applicants upload income tax information using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, please file previous year income tax for you and your spouse (if applicable ) two (2) weeks prior to completing the FAFSA.
- Depending on how you answer certain questions on the FAFSA, you may be considered a dependent student. In order to use the IRS Data Retrieval your parents will need to have filed their previous year income tax two (2) weeks prior to completing the FAFSA.
What if I or my parent(s) did not file taxes?
You will need to indicate on your FAFSA that you and/or your parents did not file. You may be asked to provide a non-tax filer statement verifying you and/or your parents did not file income tax for the previous year.
I don't live with my parents and/or they don't support me, why am I considered dependent?
Although you may not be financially dependent on your parents or living in the same household, if you do not meet FAFSA's criteria to be considered independent you will be considered a dependent student.
Visit the Federal Student Aid official FAFSA Dependency page for more information.
Where can I get a copy of my prior year tax return?
You can request a tax return transcript from the IRS website.
After completing the FAFSA, do I need to send anything to the college?
No, as long as you include the correct school code your information will be electronically sent to the college.
Do I need to fill out the FAFSA every year?
Once the FAFSA is completed your application will cover one school year which includes the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. The FAFSA must be renewed after January 1 of every year and will apply to the following school year.
Completing the FAFSA
Before filling out your FAFSA
- Be sure you have completed the Apply Texas Application and provided a social security number on your application.
- Gather all biographical data (name, social security number, date of birth) and make sure all data matches information provided on your Apply Texas Application.
- The Alamo Colleges recommends students, parents, and spouses (if applicable) upload their income tax information using the IRS Data Retrieval tool when filling out the FAFSA. To use the tool all parties must file their income tax two (2) weeks prior to filling out the FAFSA.
After you fill out the FAFSA
- Please allow 2-3 weeks for the college to receive your FAFSA. After the college receives the FAFSA students should login to ACES and check for any additional requirements including verification.
- If selected for verification, please visit the Verification webpage.
- Be sure to print and review the SAR (Student Aid Report) to make sure all information is correct and address any notes that might be attached identifying "issues". All issues on your SAR must be corrected before the college can download your application.
Fill out your FAFSA now!
For assistance completing the FAFSA, view the 7 steps to complete the FAFSA tutorial