Pro Tips for Success

If filling out financial forms is not your idea of fun, follow these tips to save time + hassles.

  1. A few days before the FAFSA form is released (usually October 1 but in 2023 not until December), set up the student's federal student aid (FSA) ID and the parent's federal student aid (FSA) ID online at (Bonus! If you have other college-bound children, the parent FSA ID will be good for their FAFSA application, too. You only need one parent FSA ID.)
  2. Wait about a week after the form opens before you dive into the FAFSA. It becomes available on October 1, but each year brings a new set of circumstances. It can take a few days for FAFSA administrators to work out bugs and problems after it’s in use. There’s no harm in waiting a few days, and you may actually save yourself some hassle.
  3. Gather your paperwork beforehand. You’ll need:
    • The Nazareth University FAFSA Code: 002779
    • The Nazareth University TAP code (New York State): 0525
    • For entering college in 2023: Household or parent’s 2021 tax return and W2s. ("Parent" is the custodial parent for the previous 12 months.)
    • Student’s 2021 tax returns and W2s
    • Social security numbers
    • Student’s driver’s license
    • Bank statements, records of investments, records of untaxed income (e.g. child support, veteran’s non-education benefits).
  4. Set aside an hour of quiet time to work on this.
  5. Use FAFSA.govIt's free! Avoid, which charges a fee.
  6. BONUS time saver! The IRS data retrieval tool will link your IRS records with the FAFSA form and automatically pre-fill parts of the FAFSA for you, saving you time and work. For it to work, however, make sure the street address you enter in the FAFSA is a perfect match to how you entered it when you completed your tax return.
  7. If you’re a resident of New York State, complete your TAP right after you submit your FAFSA by selecting the "complete your state application now" box. Doing it while you’re in the mode will save you the hassle of having to log back in and do it later.
  8. To avoid common data processing errors and delays:
    • Don't leave spaces blank; fill in every answer, even if the answer is "0".
    • Use your child's full name every time (such as "Samantha"), not a nickname (such as "Sam").
    • Double check that social security numbers have been entered correctly.
    • Save copies and make a note of the date you submitted any forms or correspondence. Always keep copies of your tax return transcripts and W-2's, too.