The Ultimate Guide To Understanding & Filling Out the FAFSA

Now you won't leave any tuition assistance on the table.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022
2 min. read

Did you know Keuka College ranks among the leading colleges in New York for the amount of financial aid awarded? It’s true! In fact, 98% of our students receive financial aid. We are experts in helping you navigate getting financial aid for yourself and your family.

But between the scholarships, grants, loans, and student aid, there’s a lot to keep track of and most people don't know where to start. Follow this list of financial aid tips and watch the cost of your college education dwindle.

Understanding Financial Aid Acronyms

The acronyms FSA and FAFSA are about to become welcome additions to your educational vocabulary. They stand for Federal Student Aid and Free Application for Federal Student Aid – and you’ll be referring to them repeatedly, happily, and, ultimately, successfully throughout your higher education journey. The FAFSA is used to determine your eligibility for all manner of federal student aid, including grants, work-study, and loans.

Starting A New FAFSA

The official FAFSA form is released on Oct. 1 every year. If you are filling out the FAFSA for the first time, you will want to visit the Federal Student Aid website before that date. As a new user, you will need to create your account and establish both a student's and a parent's FSA ID. 
Make sure you write down your username and password because you will need them every year you are filing the FAFSA. Also, make sure you keep your information in a safe place where others aren’t going to find it. And for good measure, don’t use your high school email address.

Gather Everything You Need To Fill Out The FAFSA

The online application becomes active in October. Each year brings a few changes to the program, it can take a day or two for the application to run smoothly.
While you give FAFSA administrator time to straighten out any bugs, collect the following:

  • Keuka College FAFSA Code: 002744
  • Keuka College TAP Code (New York State): 0345
  • Family tax returns: If you’re entering college in Fall 2023, you’ll need to provide the household or parent’s 2020 tax return and W2s. (“Parent” is the custodial parent for the previous 12 months.)
  • The student’s 2021 tax returns and W2s
  • Student’s and parents’ Social Security numbers
  • Student’s driver’s license
  • Family bank statements, records of investments, records of untaxed income (e.g., child support, veteran’s non-education benefits, etc.). You may not need all this information but it doesn’t hurt to have it on hand.

Tips for Completing the FAFSA

  • Plan on about an hour to complete the application.
  • You’ll need your parents with you when filling it out.
  • Don’t leave spaces; fill in every answer, even if the answer is “n/a” or “0.”
  • Use your full, legal name every time (“Robert,” “Madeline”) rather than a nickname or preferred name (“Bob,” “Maddie”).
  • Save screenshots or copies and save in writing the date(s) that the applications and/or other correspondence are submitted.
  • Save copies of tax returns and W2s.
  • Double-check all of the information you filled out before hitting submit.
  • Submit your FAFSA as soon as you can!
  • The FAFSA is FREE; if a site is asking for money then you are not on the correct site.

New York State Residents

New York State residents can streamline the process by submitting their TAP application immediately upon completing the FAFSA. Simply click the “complete your state application now” box. This will save you the hassle of logging back in later.

We are Here to Help With Your FAFSA

For one-on-one assistance, arrange to meet in person, by phone, or virtually at any stage of your college financial planning process.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (315) 279-5232