FAFSA Tips and Tutorial
Miami's Federal School Code
Created by our colleagues at University of California at Santa Barbara, the helpful tutorial below provides step-by-step instructions for completing the 2015-2016 FAFSA.
For priority consideration for certain federal funds, grants, and need-based scholarships, new first-year students must submit the FAFSA by February 15 and for returning students and new transfer students by March 15.
Miami University strongly encourages all students to complete the FAFSA online. The tips below can help you avoid common mistakes that could delay processing time.
If completing the application online, you will need your FSA ID to sign the application electronically. If you are a dependent student, your parent will also need to sign. Your parent can apply for their own FSA ID to sign the application. You, and your parent, will need to create a FSA ID if you do not already have one.
If you don't use the E-Signature option, you must print out, sign, and mail the signature page to the federal processor. This could add up to two weeks to your processing time.
Remember that the student is the applicant. It is the student's name, social security number, date of birth, etc., that should be included in Step One.
Use the student's legal name as it appears on his or her social security card. Parents must also be sure to use their legal name as it appears on their social security card.
Carefully check your social security number. If incorrect, you will be required to submit additional documentation after the FAFSA is processed. You may even have to complete a new FAFSA to correct the error.
You should always use yearly income amounts. Do not use monthly amounts. For example, if you receive $200 workers compensation each month, you should report $2,400.
Don't skip questions or assume that we will know the answer to a particular question. If your answer is zero then use "0." Do not leave answers blank.
Remember that early applications reap the most benefits and it is important to file by Miami's filing deadlines (for first-year students by February 15 and for returning students by March 15). The FAFSA is available as of January 1 for the following school year. You do not have to wait on a completed tax return to submit the FAFSA. You may check the appropriate box indicating that you are estimating your income and then provide your best estimate based on check stubs, W-2 forms, or other income documentation. If your financial situation is similar to last year, you might want to use last year's tax return as a basis for your estimation. Once you (and your parents if you are a dependent student) file your tax return, you must correct any income or tax information that changed since you filed your FAFSA. You are obligated to make corrections if you make any errors.