Getting Help with Your FAFSA
If you're thinking about enrolling in college, now’s the time to complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). WGU is here to help you navigate the financial aid process to help make our low tuition even more affordable.
Keep reading for information and tips to help you fill out the FAFSA form. And if you need additional help, sign up for our free FAFSA consulting service and connect directly with a Financial Aid Counselor who can walk you through the process to complete your FAFSA.
Where to Start
Create an Account
Before you start the FAFSA application you will need an FSA ID. This is a combination of a username and password. This ID gives you access to certain information online and allows you to sign your FAFSA form electronically. If you do not already have an FSA ID, you can create an FSA ID.
Tip: Make sure and enter your name and Social Security number exactly as they appear on your Social Security card when you create your FSA ID.
Determine Which FAFSA to Fill Out
You will also need to determine which FAFSA to fill out depending on when you plan to start your enrollment. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form you fill out should correspond with the school year you're planning to seek aid for. For example, if you want to go to school and get aid from July 1st, 2023 to June 30th, 2024 you should fill out the 2023-2024 FAFSA.
All applicants for federal student aid are classified as either dependent or independent.
- Dependent students report their information AND their parents’ information.
- Independent students report their own information (and, if they’re married, their spouse’s).
To determine if you are a dependent or independent student, please visit the FAFSA website.
Tip: If you’re a dependent student, one of your parents whose information is reported on the FAFSA form will also need an FSA ID so that they can sign your application electronically. If your parent doesn’t have an SSN, your parent won’t be able to create an FSA ID. This means you’ll have to select the option to print a signature page when you get to the end of your FAFSA form on fafsa.gov.
Gather the Required Documents
There are specific documents you’ll need to apply for financial aid, and it’s easier to complete the FAFSA form if you gather these ahead of time. Here are a few items to have handy:
- Your Social Security number (SSN).
- Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen).
- Your driver’s license number.
- Your federal income tax return.
- This includes IRS W-2 information.
- You’ll also need your spouse’s federal income tax return if you are married or your parents’ return if you are a dependent student.
- Records of your untaxed income.
- This includes child support received, interest income, and veterans noneducation benefits provided to you, or to your parents if you’re a dependent student.
- Information on your cash, savings and checking account balances, investments, and business and farm assets for you and for your parents if you are a dependent student.
Start the FAFSA Form and Provide Your Information
Once you have your FSA ID, log in as a student and then follow the steps to complete the form at fafsa.gov.
Tip: At the beginning of the application process, you can create a “save key” which allows you to return to where you left off in your application. If you are a dependent student the “save key” will also allow you and your parents to access the FAFSA form if you are completing the application in separate locations.
The first section of the FAFSA form is the demographic section. The student demographics and the parent demographics sections are different, so check that you are completing the correct section for your circumstances. This tool from Federal Student Aid will help determine where to start if you’re unsure.
Tip: Enter your information exactly as it appears on your Social Security or Alien Registration Card to avoid getting an error code.
List Your Colleges
You must list at least one college on your FAFSA. The schools you list will use your FAFSA information to determine the types and amounts of aid you receive.
WGU’s school code is:
Provide Your Financial Information
The FAFSA form asks for financial information, including information from tax forms and balances of savings and checking accounts.
- The 2023–24 FAFSA form asks for 2021 tax information.
- The 2022–23 FAFSA form asks for 2020 tax information.
Tip: If your or your family’s financial situation has changed significantly from what’s reflected on your federal income tax return (for example, if you’ve lost a job), you may be eligible to have your financial aid adjusted. Federal regulations allow limited exceptions or adjustments to information reported on your FAFSA. These exceptions or adjustments are known as “Special Circumstances” or “Professional Judgment” and are considered case-by-case based on the supporting documentation you provide.
IRS Data Retrieval Tool
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) electronically transfers your tax information into your FAFSA form. It’s the fastest, most accurate way to input your tax return information into the FAFSA form, and it can reduce the amount of paperwork you need to provide to WGU later.
Here’s how the IRS DRT process works, assuming your tax information is available:
FAFSA consulting service can provide additional comprehensive help with the IRS DRT if needed. Connect directly with a Financial Aid counselor for help.
Frequently Asked Questions About IRS DRT
No. Information you transfer via the IRS DRT can’t be changed. If your financial situation has changed or you filed a 1040X amended return, contact WGU’s Financial Aid Office to discuss whether we need to adjust the information on your FAFSA form.
You can, but it’s not ideal. If you decide to reset your FAFSA form, your entire application or correction will be cleared, and you'll have to start the entire application or correction over again.
Yes. Tax return information that’s entered manually will be visible on fafsa.gov and on your Student Aid Report.
Sign and Submit Your FAFSA Form
As you finish your FAFSA form, be sure to sign with your FSA ID so that your FAFSA will be processed as quickly as possible.
Tip: If you log in to the form by providing your FSA ID, you won’t be asked for it again when it’s time to sign. However, if you’re providing parent information, one of your parents will be required to sign your application.
Student Aid Report
After you submit your FAFSA form, you’ll get a Student Aid Report (SAR), an electronic or paper document that summarizes the information you reported on your FAFSA form. It includes your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), your estimated eligibility for federal student loans and Federal Pell Grants, and whether you’ve been selected for verification. You'll get your SAR within three days to three weeks after you submit your FAFSA form.
If you’ve been accepted at a school that you listed on your FAFSA form, the school will calculate your aid and send you an aid offer or award letter telling you how much aid you’re eligible for. If you’re offered financial aid and you accepted it, the financial aid staff at your college or career school will explain how and when your financial aid will be paid out.
We're Here to Help
Sign up for our free FAFSA Consulting Service and connect directly with a Financial Aid Counselor to get additional resources and support in completing your FAFSA.
For other financial aid assistance, you can contact the Financial Services department at 877-435-7948.