How to File the FAFSA

Steps to File - fafsa.ed.gov
  1. Both the student and parent must apply for a personal identification number (PIN) from the U.S. Department of Education at www.pin.ed.gov. This PIN will then serve as the online signature when completing the FAFSA. Note that a FAFSA is not considered complete until both the parent and student have updated it with their PIN.
  2. Once you have a PIN, complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Be sure to include UD's Federal School Code (001431).
  3. When filing your FAFSA on the Web, we encourage you to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), which allows the US Department of Education to access your tax year data directly from the IRS, as opposed to you having to provide the data. Using DRT will ensure the most accurate aid award for you and may eliminate the need for you to supply us with your tax information if you are selected for Federal Verification.
  4. After the FAFSA has been submitted, you will receive notification from the Federal government in the form of a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR will contain your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and will also indicate your Pell Grant, if eligible, as well as Federal Direct Loans. Be sure to review this report and correct any errors that you may find.
Most Common Errors Associated with Filing the FAFSA
  1. Not applying at all.
  2. Planning too late and missing deadlines
  3. Entering incorrect information on the form. The most common errors include inaccurate information such as name, date of birth, gender, and social security number
  4. Including the value of retirement plans in the assets figure. Retirement plans do not count as assets.
  5. Confusing the "Adjusted Gross Income" figure with the amount of U.S. taxes paid.
  6. Forgetting to have both the student and parent sign the online form with a FAFSA PIN.
  7. Not filing on the official federal site at www.fafsa.ed.gov but, rather, with a third party.
  8. Skipping income questions or using an estimate. This should be a last resort and only done if it means that you will miss deadlines.
  9. Not reading the Student Aid Report (SAR) and/or not responding immediately to requirements listed on the SAR.
  10. Not including the UD School code 001431 or choosing the incorrect financial aid year.