February 1 marks an important financial aid deadline for Missouri college students. That’s the absolute latest you should file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2021-2022 school year – especially if you want to be considered for any state funding.
You’ll need the following information before you get started:
- Your FSA ID (a parent may need one too)
- Federal income tax forms from 2019
- OTC’s school code (030830)
Even if you have scholarships, it’s important to file your FAFSA before Feb. 1. Doing so ensures you’ll be eligible for as much federal financial aid as possible next year.
To get started on your FAFSA…
If you don’t already have an FSA ID, you’ll need to create one. The FSA ID is a username and password for completing and electronically signing the FAFSA. It also allows you access to your federal student aid records such as grant and loan history. Make sure you enter your name and social security number exactly as it appears on your social security card when creating your FSA ID. If you are a dependent student, your parent will also need an FSA ID to sign the FAFSA.
To create an FSA ID or to update your existing FSA ID, click here.
Gather all your information.
The 2021-2022 FAFSA requires information from the 2019 tax year. Although many of the questions on the FAFSA will ask for information you readily know, you’ll want to gather your tax documents from 2019 as well as records of any untaxed 2019 income and records of your assets. If you don’t have access to the necessary information, you can SAVE the application and return to it later to complete and submit.
Note: There may be an option to use the Data Retrieval Tool to download your taxes directly from the IRS to your FAFSA. This may be the easiest and most accurate option (see more below).
Accuracy is important.
Making sure you enter accurate information helps the processing of your FAFSA go smoothly. It also ensures that you will be awarded the correct amounts of federal student aid. Take your time and read the questions thoroughly. Even entering an incorrect date of birth can cause an unnecessary delay and require correction later.
Utilize the help features.
In addition to the overall “help” feature available on the application, there is also a blue and white help button located next to every question. This makes it quick and easy to get more detailed information as you proceed through the application.
Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, if it’s made available to you.
Many students (and parents of dependent students) will be given the opportunity to import their tax information using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). If you are presented with this option, take advantage of it. By importing your information, there is much less chance of error, and it can streamline the processing (and possible verification) of your FAFSA.
Don’t forget to add your college.
Your selected college(s) can only view your FAFSA if you include their school code on the application. A search feature will allow you to find the college(s) of your choice, but OTC’s school code is 030830.
Did you know?
Federal Student Aid offers a free app called myStudentAid where you can easily fill out the FAFSA on your smartphone. Download it from the App Store or Google Play, and you’re ready to go. Otherwise, you can complete the application online here.
And finally, remember we’re here to help.
We understand that completing the FAFSA can sometimes be confusing and feel overwhelming. You may have questions such as:
- I’m under 24 but live on my own. Do I have to include parent information on my FAFSA?
- What if my current financial situation is different than what is represented on the FAFSA?
- Do I update my FAFSA if my marital status has changed?
- How do I complete the FAFSA verification process at OTC?
For help with these questions and any others related to your FAFSA or financial aid in general, reach out to us in the OTC Financial Aid Office at email@example.com or 417-447-6900.
For more information on completing the FAFSA, visit the FAFSA tips page on the Federal Student Aid website.