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Start by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is an online application that guides you through the questions you need to answer and stops you if you make a mistake.
Get and Use Your FSA ID
You must get an FSA ID to sign your FAFSA online. You will get your FSA ID when you go to the FAFSA website to complete your application. If you are required to report parent information on your FAFSA, one of your parents must get an FSA ID too. Be sure not to share your FSA ID with anyone. Save it, because you will need to use it every year. Learn how to get your FSA ID here.
Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
You should always try to use the IRS Data Retrieval option at FAFSA-on-the-Web to have your income tax information imported from IRS records to your application automatically. You do not have to wait until you and your parents file your taxes to refile your FAFSA. The FAFSA now uses your family tax information already on file from 2 years before.
Using IRS Data Retrieval should make it easier for you and your family to complete the income sections of the FAFSA. You won’t have to try and find the correct numbers on your tax papers.
If you do not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when you file your FAFSA, you may have to submit IRS Tax Return Transcripts for you or your parents before your awards can be finalized.
Provide Your E-.mail Address
Make sure to include an e-mail address when you file your application. Your application results will be sent by email in 1 to 3 days. Be sure to look at your application results when you receive the email. Download a copy of the results (called a Student Aid Report, or SAR) for your records.
What Do I Do Next?
When you have submitted your completed FAFSA, you will see a Confirmation Page. This page will give you a confirmation # and an estimate of your federal aid eligibility. Print a copy of this page for your records. You will also receive your Confirmation Page by email after you submit your FAFSA.
File Your New York State TAP on the Web Application
On the FAFSA Confirmation Page, look for "Optional Feature -- Start your state application" to go to "TAP on the Web". Here you will be able to apply for New York State tuition programs for full-time and part-time students.
[Note: if you are not a New York State resident, this option will not be available.]
If you do not complete the TAP application when you file your FAFSA, you will be sent an e-mail with a link to complete it after your FAFSA is processed or you may apply for TAP here.