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FAFSA Tips - Financial Aid - Cabrillo College

Tips for completing the FAFSA

The easiest and fastest way to apply for federal and state aid is by using FAFSA on the Web at It is available in both Spanish and English and you can apply around the clock, seven days a week, starting on October 1st of each year.


  1. File online. If you need help filing online contact our office.
  2. Use your legal name as it appears on your Social Security card. Nicknames will cause delays.
  3. Apply for an FSA ID so you can sign the FAFSA electronically. Dependent students can have a parent apply for an FSA ID. The FSA ID can also be used to make corrections to your FAFSA.
  4. Before starting, read the "Before Beginning a FAFSA" steps at which lists what information is needed.
  5. Have all necessary documents on hand when completing the FAFSA such as your federal tax returns.
  6. Read the questions carefully.
  7. Do not leave any blank fields. Use a zero if the question does not apply to you.
  8. Review the completed FAFSA thoroughly before submitting it and keep a printout for your records.
  9. Remember to sign the FAFSA and obtain all other required signatures. You cannot receive aid without the required signature(s).
  10. Meet deadlines! Even if you have not filed your tax return, use estimates based on your W2's and make corrections to your FAFSA online once you have filed your taxes.
  11. Dependent students: if the parent responsible for completing the FAFSA has remarried, income and asset information for the new spouse must be reported.
  12. If you will have a child born before or during the award year (Fall through Summer sessions) and will be your legal dependent, the child should be counted as a member of the household.
  13. Be sure to report any money received or paid on your behalf.
  14. Do not include grant or scholarship money if you did not report them to the IRS.
  15. If you can provide an e-mail address, you will get a message confirming that your FAFSA on the Web was received.
  16. Avoid peak hours; you will get a faster response, especially after 8 p.m.
  17. To meet the deadline for Cal Grants, you must submit your FAFSA by the March 2 priority deadline for each year, but you are strongly encouraged not to wait until the last minute.

If you do not have access to a computer, you can attend a workshop or use a computer on campus to file your FAFSA.

Important: The FAFSA application is submitted to the Federal Processor. The Cabrillo Financial Aid office does not process your FAFSA application.

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What is an FSA ID?

An FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. Your FSA ID identifies you as someone who has the right to access your own personal information on ED websites such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid ( FAFSA®) at

If you are a parent of a dependent student, you will need your own FSA ID if you want to sign your child's FAFSA electronically. If you have more than one child attending college, you can use the same FSA ID to sign all applications. Please note: Each FSA ID user must have a unique e-mail address.

Your FSA ID is used to sign legally binding documents electronically. It has the same legal status as a written signature. Don't give your FSA ID to anyone—not even to someone helping you fill out the FAFSA. Sharing your FSA ID could put you at risk of identity theft!

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