How to Fill Out the FAFSA When You Have More Than One Child in College

Got 2 or more kids attending college

Having one child who is heading to college can be stressful, but having to help multiple children at the same time can feel like too much to manage. While I can’t save you from a forgotten application deadline or the “how to do your own laundry” lessons, hopefully, I can help make the financial aid part of the process run more smoothly with these tips:

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The Parent’s Guide to Filling Out the FAFSA® Form

While the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form is the student’s application, we know that parents often play a large role in the process. After all, students who are considered dependent have to provide parental information on the FAFSA form anyway and must have a parent sign it. While we recommend that the student start his or her own FAFSA form, we know that’s not always what happens. With that in mind, we wanted to provide instructions for parents who are starting the FAFSA form on behalf of their child so you can avoid running into issues completing the form.

If you are a parent completing the FAFSA form for your child, follow these steps:

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7 Things You Need Before You Fill Out the 2018–19 FAFSA® Form


If you need financial aid to help you pay for college, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. The 2018–19 FAFSA form was made available as of Oct. 1, 2017. You should fill it out as soon as possible on the official government site, fafsa.gov.

It’ll be easier to complete the FAFSA form if you gather what you need ahead of time. Below is what you’ll need to fill it out.

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Important Information about the IRS Data Retrieval Tool

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) provides tax data that automatically fills in information for part of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), as well as the income-driven repayment plan application for federal student loan borrowers.

To protect sensitive taxpayer data, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on fafsa.gov and StudentLoans.gov will be unavailable until extra security protections can be added. For borrowers who need to complete the Income-Driven Repayment Plan Request on StudentLoans.gov, the tool will be available in late-May. The tool will be available to use on the 2018–19 FAFSA form on October 1, 2017.

In the interim, please continue to complete the FAFSA or apply for an income-driven repayment plan by manually providing your tax information. The income information needed to complete these applications can be found on a previously filed tax return.

  • If you don’t have a copy of your tax return, access the tax software you used to prepare the return or contact your tax preparer to obtain a copy.
  • If you still can’t access your return, you can get a summary of a previously filed tax return, called a Tax Return Transcript, at irs.gov/transcript.

Here’s what you should know:


1. You can still submit the FAFSA online at fafsa.gov.

  • You will need to manually provide your 2015 tax information to complete the FAFSA. Do not use your 2016 tax information. For more info: StudentAid.gov/fafsa-changes
  • If your financial situation has changed since 2015, you should complete the FAFSA using the information it requires (2015 tax info), then contact your school’s financial aid office to discuss your circumstances. The financial aid office can make updates to your FAFSA information if appropriate.

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