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How to file the FAFSA?

In 2012, a number of important changes were made to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) filing process. The most significant change was the ability to populate the FAFSA's financial information section with tax return data using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

The Office of Financial Aid recommends that all FAFSA filers use the online filing system to ensure the most accurate information. To allow you to take advantage of these updates, the FAFSA filing deadline for continuing AU students is May 1.

Before You File the FAFSA

  1. Both the student and the custodial parent should have a Federal Student Identification (FSA ID).
  2. Custodial parent and student (if applicable) must file 2021 tax returns. It typically takes two weeks after filing tax information before it is available for use in the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

Filing the FAFSA

  1. Visit and click "Start Here."
  2. Enter all required information.
  3. In the "Student Tax Information" section, select "Already completed" when asked if 2021 tax return has been completed.
  4. On the same screen, complete the questionnaire. If applicable, select "None of the above," this will allow you to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
  5. You will be redirected to the IRS website where your 2021 tax return information will be pulled into your FAFSA after you answer some basic demographic information to ensure your identity.
  6. Follow the remaining instructions to complete your FAFSA filing.

Information from Federal Student Aid on how to fill out the FAFSA.