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Checklist for Success!

Come to the workshop with the following documents you have (and which apply to you):

  •  Driver’s license (if you have one)
  •  Social Security Card or number (if you have one)
  •  Alien registration number (if you have one)
  •  Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) – yours or your parents’
  •  List of colleges you are interested in attending
  •  Most current bank statements – yours, your spouse, or your parents’
  •  Any records of untaxed income such as welfare benefits, Social Security benefits, or child support payments
  •  2019 tax/income information to apply for 2021-2022 student aid. This includes:
    • 2019 W-2s or income information – yours, your spouse, or your parents’
  •  Your FSA ID (only for FAFSA) for student and parent

Tips and Easy Answers to Potentially Tricky Questions

  • Save your data. Keep track of your Username, Password, Save Key and Security Questions
  • Convictions. When asked if you have received Financial Aid before, if the answer is yes, you will subsequently be asked if you have ever been convicted of the sale or possession of drugs while receiving financial aid. Please be very careful in answering this question. If you have not been convicted of drug offenses before, or have never received financial aid before, answer no.
  • Residence. Your state of Legal Residence is where you have resided for at least 1 year. If you have lived in California for more than 1 year, the date we are looking for is 366 days after you first arrived here (and less than 5 years).
  • Degree. What degree are you working on: we encourage students to use the first degree level they are able to obtain.
  • Federal Work-Study. For interest in Federal Work-Study, answer ‘Yes’ if you are uncertain, this leaves the option open.
  • Foreign High School Diploma. For those with a foreign high school diploma fill in the name of your graduating high school, city, for State, select “Foreign Country”, and then click the Next button.
  • Dependents. Regarding the question "Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2021": This would be people that you support, not people with whom you split living expenses.
  • Income. Parent income and student income are not the same. Read the instructions at top of the page if you're unclear which income to put. It will state clearly whether it requires the student or parent to fill in that particular page.
  • Address. Using the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), you need to enter the address exactly as it is typed on the Return or the DRT. You will also need to verify your identity
  • Tax Return. If a tax return was required to be filed—but was not—an application can be completed by selecting the Will File option. However, the tax return may be needed later.
  • Student Income. Do not skip the student income section.
    • For students who did not work, the income should be ‘0’.
    • Answer clearly that the student Will Not File if there is no income and/or they are not required to file a tax return for that year in their name.
    • When a student has earned income but did not file, use their W-2’s to fill in their income.
  • Students should be active in the process. Having someone other than the student complete the entire process can leave the student without access to important information. Students: please take care to be active in participating in your financial aid application process! Students who know more about the process are more prepared for getting their financial aid with minimal issues.