Completing the FAFSA

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Webinar Recording from October 10, 2017

Expert Tips for Completing the FAFSA for 2018-19
Presenter: Steve Winey, Associate Director of Financial Aid

Presented live on Tuesday, October 10, 2017; now available on the Webinars page.

This webinar is provided to assist students (and their parents, if parental information is required) in completing their 2018-19 FAFSA successfully. When students complete their FAFSA accurately the first time, they avoid delays in aid processing. The webinar resources will:

  • help students and parents understand foundational concepts for completing the FAFSA successfully (the "Snapshot in Time," the FSA ID, and other important concepts)
  • address both first-time FAFSA filers and returning filers (FAFSA renewal) for the 2018-19 academic year
  • provide information and tips to help you avoid unnecessary errors and processing delays

FAFSA Resources

The Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID)

Note: The FSA ID replaced the PIN (Personal Identification Number) beginning in May 2015.

The FSA ID is used to sign the FAFSA, and to also access other secure federal aid websites. Student FAFSA filers, as well as one parent of students who must report parental data on their FAFSA, need their own unique FSA ID.

  • Carefully follow the instructions when creating or editing your FSA ID.
  • Each FSA ID must be unique; thus, a different email address must be used when each family member creates their own FSA ID.
  • URGENT 1: This is not a place where you want to have a typing error, especially when entering your Name (as it appears on your Social Security Card), Date of Birth and Social Security Number!
  • URGENT 2: No one should ever create an FSA ID for another person (this is clearly stated in the FSA ID instructions)!
  • Cedarville 'information page' with various links related to the FSA ID
  • U.S. Department of Education "Home Room" blog - "Why Students and Parents Need to Create Their Own FSA IDs"

Completing the FAFSA 2018-19

When you are unsure of how to answer a question on the FAFSA, there are two sources of additional guidance so that you can answer correctly:

  • Within the 'Online FAFSA' - look to the 'Helps and Hints' in the upper right corner (this is available for every question of the FAFSA)
  • Completing the FAFSA Form 2018-19

If the "Helps and Hints" assistance is not enough, we recommend you use Completing the FAFSA Form 2018-19 resource which provides helpful, detailed instructions for each FAFSA question.

  • Pages 1-7: Table of Contents
  • Pages 8-10: Helpful Background Information on the FAFSA Process and FSA ID
  • Page 11: Help and Hints - Instructions for Each Question
The entire document is full of helpful information; however, the following key sections are emphasized due to the questions fielded on FAFSA each year:
  • Pages 15-16: Student – Gender / Register student with Selective Service System (male) 
  • Pages 18-25: Student - Financial Questions (Tax Year 2016)
  • Pages 25-28: Student - Assets Questions
  • Pages 28-35: Student - Additional Financial Questions
  • Pages 35-40: Student - Dependency Questions
  • -------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Pages 40-45: Parental Information - Demographics, etc.
  • Page 44: Parental Number in Household and Number in College
  • Pages 45-52: Parental Information - Financial Questions (Tax Year 2016)
  • Pages 52-55: Parental Information - Assets Questions
  • Pages 56-63: Parental Information - Additional Financial Questions

NOTE: Completing the FAFSA Form 2018-19 follows the Paper FAFSA numbering scheme. If you are completing the FAFSA online, the 'Helps and Hints' for each question asked will contain the Question Number cross-reference which can be used with these detailed instructions.

Pharmacy, MDiv and MMin Program Students - Guidance on Select 2018-19 FAFSA Questions

The following “help documents” provide guidance on specific FAFSA questions to assist students in completing the FAFSA accurately for each academic year of their program. These worksheets are available for the following programs:

FAFSA on the Web Worksheet for 2018-19

The FAFSA on the Web Worksheet for 2018-19 is designed to provide a preview of the questions that you may be asked when you complete your online FAFSA. If you wish, you can complete this form and write additional notes to assist you when completing your FAFSA.

Instructions for using the Online FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool

Students and parents completing the FAFSA are encouraged to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) after either the student or parents have officially submitted their IRS tax return. 

Note: This tool is built into the Online FAFSA.

Resources for understanding the IRS DRT:

Tax Documents from Cedarville University

The accounting and finance office provides the following Tax Year Documents to students if they meet the criteria to receive the document:

These documents contain important information which may be needed to complete the FAFSA and/or an IRS tax return. Additionally, parents of students may also need information from these forms when preparing their own IRS tax return. 

NOTE: Each Tax Document Section ends with information on which office to contact regarding that particular document.


Have a question or need help? Contact us!

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