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). The FAFSA does not require payment, and UW-Whitewater does not endorse any company which asks for payment for help filing the 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 who never had a PIN should each create an FSA ID during the FAFSA filing process. You can also create one at any time by going to the FSA ID website.
Students and parents who previously had a PIN can enter this to transfer their information to the new FSA ID.
Do not share your FSA ID! Students and parents use this to sign the FAFSA electronically, but it is also used to sign promissory notes and log into secure Department of Education websites.
FSA ID Tips
- Please do NOT create an FSA ID for another person! Parents - do not create your student's FSA ID. Students - do not create your parent's FSA ID.
- Parents and students need to use separate email addresses to create their individual FSA IDs.
- Students should not use a high school email address if they will not have access to that email after graduation. Be sure to use an email address you can access.
- When you create your FSA ID, you will be asked to formulate multiple challenge questions. Be sure to use information you will remember and that will not change. For example, don't use your favorite TV show if that changes every year.
- Your Social Security number will be verified with the Social Security Administration. If you typed this wrong, you will need to fix it before using the FSA ID to sign your FAFSA or Master Promissory Note.
- Remember to verify your email as that will make it easier if you forget your password.
- Questions? Issues? Contact 1-800-433-3243
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.
- 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 are legally married, the student must report information for both parents/step-parents in the household.
- 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.