The Student News Site of State University of New York at Brockport

The Stylus

The Stylus

The Stylus

FAFSA: Everything you need to know


It’s that time of the year again. Here is everything you need to know before filing your FAFSA, as well as some tips and tricks on how to maximize your financial aid. 

What is FAFSA?  

FAFSA stands for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid.” You create an FSA ID and apply on the official website. FAFSA provides students with financial aid packages containing grants, work-study, student loans and scholarships. These financial aid packages are then sent to the colleges of the applicant’s choice. From there, students can choose to accept or reject any part of the financial aid package, like a student loan they don’t want to take out. 

What do I need in order to file my FAFSA? 

Your FSA ID 

First things first, you will need an FSA account to log in and complete your FAFSA. You only need to create this account once, the first time you are applying for financial aid. Do NOT let your parents create your FSA ID as this will cause issues down the line. Make sure to write down your username and password as you will need it to file again next year. 


It is important to have your SSN handy when filing your FAFSA. You can’t apply without it because it helps to verify your identity. Make sure to have you and your parents’ SSN ready when starting the application as it will ask for this several times.  

Driver’s License (Optional) 

If you don’t have a driver’s license, you won’t need it on your application. However, your parent will still need to provide one.. 

Federal Income Tax Return 

FAFSA looks at you and your parent’s income tax return documents from two years before the applied school year. When applying for the 2022-23 school year, you will need your 2020 income tax return documents, as well as your parent’s if you are a dependent.  

However, you can also use the IRS Data Retriever Tool to transfer your 2020 income tax information to FAFSA instead. There will be an option for this during the application process. Use it, it will save you a lot of time and effort. 

Untaxed Income Information 

Untaxed income information also must be provided in the FAFSA, which can include a variety of situations like child support. You will need to provide information on untaxed income you may have received during 2020 when applying for the 2022-23 school year. Make sure to have any records of this untaxed income if you want to report it on the application. 

Records of Assets 

This applies to you and your parent. You must include up-to-date numbers of your checking and savings account, investments, stocks, bonds, real estate and any other records of money you own. Do NOT put in asset information from 2020 instead.  

List of Colleges 

Make sure to have a list of colleges you want your financial aid information sent to. When you choose the college you want to go to, you can accept the financial aid package for that college, typically on your online account with them. 

How often do I need to apply? 

If you only enrolled for the next semester and not the whole year, you would need to apply each semester. Otherwise, students usually file once a year. 

When is the deadline to apply? 

The recommended deadline given by SUNY Brockport for the 2022-23 school year is Jan. 1, 2022.  

How long will the application take? 

The application takes less than one hour for most students to fill out, so set aside time to complete it. 

When should I hear back regarding my financial aid? 

If you filed your FAFSA before Jan. 1, 2022, you should receive your financial aid package sometime before May 2022. The deadline to accept or decline awards offered is May 15, 2022. To accept or decline financial aid awards, you can log in to Web Banner and make your decision by navigating the “Financial Aid” tab. 


File early 

The application opens every year on Oct. 1. The earlier you apply, the more money you may receive from financial aid to cover college expenses. Some funds are limited, so the longer you wait to apply, the less financial aid you may receive. Apply ASAP. 

Pick a time that is easiest for you 

Don’t wait until the last minute to apply, but don’t apply when you are busy and make a mistake in your application. Make sure you are in a comfortable, relaxed environment as you start the application, with all the documents you need for the process. 

Only include one parent in the application 

On the FAFSA, you don’t need to include both of your parents. You only need to include one of them. You can apply with the parent who makes the least amount of income to receive more financial aid for your school year and it is completely legal. 

Don’t misreport investments 

A common mistake made by many students is over or under-reporting investments on the FAFSA. There are some instances where you can exclude some investment information, like if you use certain investments to pay down auto-loans, credit cards and mortgages, amongst other examples of unsecured consumer debt. 

Siblings in college at the same time 

If you have any siblings that are currently attending college, make sure to include them on your FAFSA. This will increase your financial aid as each sibling in college reduces your Expected Family Contribution [EFC]. Having two kids in college divides the EFC in half, three would reduce the EFC to one-third and so on.  


Residents of NYS can apply for the Tuition Assistance Program [TAP]. Many students forget to apply for TAP although they qualify. It’s a quick application process that will provide more financial aid. The deadline to apply for the 2022-23 school year is June 30, 2022. 


If you are a NYS resident attending a SUNY or CUNY college like SUNY Brockport, you can also apply for the Excelsior scholarship, which provides financial aid to help cover tuition expenses. The deadline to apply for the 2022-23 school year is Aug. 31, 2022. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Stylus

Your donation will support the student journalists of State University of New York at Brockport. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Cambrie Eckert, News Editor
Donate to The Stylus

Comments (0)

All The Stylus Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *