Applying : FAFSA Tips
Your Federal & State PINS and FSA ID
Your FSA ID and PINs are “Personal Identification Numbers” that function as electronic signatures and IDs. You will have separate FSA ID/PINs for federal and state aid programs, so be sure to use the correct one. You will use your FSA ID/PINs year after year. Keep them in a safe place.
Your FSA ID allows you access to personal information in U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) systems when applying for federal student aid and can serve as your legal signature.
Use your FSA ID to:
- Access FAFSA on the Web
- Sign your FAFSA electronically or obtain a copy of your FAFSA information
- Complete your federal student loan (Federal Direct and/or Perkins Loans) electronic Master Promissory Notes
- Make online FAFSA corrections
- Review your grant and loan history on the National Student Loan Data System
- Look up your loan servicer’s contact information.
To create an FSA ID or update your FSA ID mailing address or other information, visit Federal Student Aid’s FSA ID site.
Your Federal PIN
The FSA ID replaced the Federal Student Aid PIN on May 10, 2015. If you haven’t logged in to a Federal Student Aid site (such as fafsa.gov or StudentLoans.gov) since May 10, 2015, you will need to create an FSA ID before you can log on in the future.
If you already have a PIN, you can link your information to your new FSA ID by entering your PIN while registering for your FSA ID. (This will save you time when registering for your FSA ID.) If you’ve forgotten your PIN, don’t worry; you can either enter the answer to your PIN “challenge question” during the FSA ID registration process to link your PIN, or you can just create your FSA ID from scratch.
Your federal PIN allows you access to personal information in U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) systems when applying for federal student aid.
Your State of Florida PIN
If you receive a Florida Bright Futures award from the State of Florida, you will also receive a System ID and Personal Identification Number (PIN) with instructions on how to access your Bright Futures record on the Web. Use these to:
- View your State of Florida award
- Update your information
- Update your college choice
- View the amount disbursed each semester
- Monitor your hours remaining for the year and for the scholarship
- View a list of correspondence sent to you by the Florida Bright Futures Program
For questions on Florida programs, call 1-888-827-2004 or visit www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org.
Common Mistakes Completing the FAFSA
Your Social Security Number
Enter your CORRECT Social Security Number on your FAFSA to get financial aid on time!
If you haven’t filed your federal income tax returns for the previous year when it is time to apply for aid, report “estimated” income information on your FAFSA. You may want to use the “Income Estimator,” available as you’re filling out your FAFSA. Once you’ve filed your federal taxes, be sure to return to the FAFSA and correct your estimates with the actual amounts. At that time, you may be eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer your tax return information into the FAFSA.
Be sure to keep a copy of your W-2s and request an IRS tax return transcript for your records.
Also see “Adjusted Gross Income/Income Tax Paid” on this page.
Report marital status as of the date you file the FAFSA for all individuals about whom you give information. If your natural mother and father are divorced and the responsible parent has remarried, when indicating the responsible parent’s marital status, mark the box that says “married/remarried” and include income/asset information for both parent and stepparent.
Number of Family Members In Household
Include only the number of people that you/your parents now support and for whom you/your parents will continue to provide more than 50% support between July 1 of the current tax year and June 30 of the next calendar year (including your unborn child, if that child will be born before or during the award year). Also include your parents’ other dependent children who will be attending postsecondary schools in the current tax year. Always include yourself (the student).
Number of Family Members in College
Include only household members who will attend college at least six credit hours per term or 12 clock hours per week between July 1 of the current tax year, and June 30 of the next calendar year. Students must be working toward a degree or certificate leading to a recognized educational credential at a college eligible to participate in federal student aid programs. Do not include parents attending college.
Additional Financial Information
Questions 43 & 91 of the FAFSA should be answered when either you or your parents have received an education credit, paid child support, or reported any of the following as income: Federal Work-Study, earnings from work under a cooperative education program, scholarships, fellowships and/or grants, Hope and Lifetime Learning tax credits, or AmeriCorps awards. Combat pay included in the Adjusted Gross Income is also reported in this section.
- Payments to tax-deferred pension and savings plans
- Untaxed portions of IRA and Keogh payments, 401(k) and 403(b) plans
- Total amount of child support you/your parent(s) received from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 of the current tax year
Tax exempt interest income
- Untaxed portions of pensions (excluding “rollovers,” which must be identified as such on the IRS return)
Military/clergy housing, food, living allowances
- Cash support or any money paid on your behalf (includes rent/mortgage, tuition, insurance paid by someone other than the parent, if dependent)
- VA non-education benefits
Adjusted Gross Income/Income Tax Paid Information
- Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, available when using FAFSA on the Web, when completing your application, if at all possible.
- If your tax filing is delayed, estimate your information to meet the “on-time” UF aid deadline. If you estimate, be sure to update your application, using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, after your taxes are filed. Keep a photocopy of all W-2s and request an IRS tax return transcript—you may be asked to provide a copy.
- When reporting U.S. taxes paid, do NOT report the amount of tax “withheld” and do NOT include self-employment taxes.
- If your responsible parent is remarried, you must include your stepparent’s income and asset information.
- If you/your parents are married and filed separate income tax returns, income information from both tax returns must be combined and reported.
- If you/your parents are divorced, separated, or widowed, DO NOT include information about your or your parent’s spouse, even if you/your parents filed a joint tax return. For further assistance, call us at (352) 392-1275.
When answering questions pertaining to parent/student assets, you must report the net worth of those assets as of the date you complete the FAFSA. These items cannot be updated after filing the original form. Do not include financial aid you received.
Drug Convictions & Eligibility
Students must answer the question about drug-related offenses. Do not leave it blank.
A drug-related conviction does not necessarily mean you are ineligible for aid. For more information about the UF’s policy on alcohol and other drug use, as well as the federal policy on drug convictions and financial aid eligibility, see the UF Student Affairs’ summary of UF policies on the use of alcohol and other drugs here.