In this Section
STEP 1: The FAFSA
How To Apply
Go to www.fafsa.gov to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We encourage students to apply as soon as possible after the FAFSA is available on January 1. Students must complete the FAFSA each academic year.
For help completing the FAFSA, use this online guide:
It is highly recommended that the FAFSA and all other required documents be submitted to the Financial Aid Office on or before the priority date of March 1. Applications submitted after this date may be too late for many aid programs including Work Study, Perkins Loan, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Non-Resident Grant. Financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, and these programs have limited funds available.
Students and parents should each apply for a PIN either before filing the FAFSA or during the filing process.
Do not share your PIN! Students and parents use this number to sign the FAFSA electronically, but it is also used to sign promissory notes and log into secure Department of Education websites.
If you forget your PIN or you would like to change it, go to www.pin.ed.gov.
FAFSA Tips/Common Issues
- Make sure you type all Social Security Numbers correctly.
- Use UW-Whitewater's school code: 003926.
- Use the IRS Data Retrieval to transfer tax data.
- You may need to type in wage figures if you filed a joint tax return. The IRS cannot determine who earned the wages when this information is transferred using the IRS Data Retrieval.
- Use the instruction toolbars on the right side of the screen for help determining what is an investment.
- Don't include the home you live in as an investment.
- Review all untaxed income data carefully to determine what must be reported.
- You can make corrections to the FAFSA by going back to www.fafsa.gov.
- Call 1-800-4Fed-Aid (433-3243) for FAFSA questions or contact the UW-Whitewater Financial Aid Office at (262)472-1130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Am I Dependent or Independent?
Dependent Students are required to submit parental information on the FAFSA. If you meet one of the following criteria, you are independent:
- You are or will be 24 by December 31
- You are married
- You have a child(ren) or other dependents who receive more than half their support from you
- You are a veteran or serving on active duty
- You are an orphan/ward of the court
- You are a graduate student
- You meet the legal guardianship, homeless or emancipated criteria on the FAFSA
Who is a Parent?
The answer to this question may seem obvious, but adoption, divorce, and remarriage situations may require students to think about who is considered their parent for FAFSA purposes. If the following information does not answer your question about your situation, contact the Financial Aid Office.
- A foster parent, legal guardian, grandparent or other relative is not a parent unless the student has been legally adopted.
- If parents are divorced, the student should provide information for the parent they lived with more over the last year. If the student lived with both parents equally, answer FAFSA questions about the parent who provided more support over the past year. Still not sure which parent? Contact the Financial Aid Office.
- If the parent the student lists on the FAFSA is remarried, the stepparent information must be reported as well.
- If same gender parents were legally married in a domestic or foreign jurisdiction that recognizes the relationship as a valid marriage, this is treated the same as opposite gender parents who are married. The student must report information for both parents/step-parents in the household.
- Beginning with the 2014-2015 FAFSA, if the student's legal (biological and/or adoptive) parents are not married, but live together, the student must answer FAFSA questions about both parents.