Step 1: Get Ready for the FAFSA

  • Review the prior year’s FAFSA, Student Aid Report (SAR), and supporting documents.
  • FAFSA uses the Prior-Prior Year Financial Information. For example: If you or your student is planning on attending college in Fall 2021 (2021-2022 school year), you will use your 2019 income data. This allows you to file the new/renewed FAFSA on October 1st, 2020, using 2019 income data instead of having to wait until after you file your 2020 taxes.
  • Gather your Prior-Prior Year financial information and other records.
    • Your Social Security number (it’s important that you enter it correctly on the FAFSA form!)
    • Your parents’ Social Security numbers if you are a dependent student
    • Your driver’s license number if you have one
    • Your Alien Registration number if you are not a U.S. citizen
    • Federal tax information or tax returns including IRS W-2 information, for you (and your spouse, if you are married), and for your parents if you are a dependent student: 
    • Records of your untaxed income, such as child support received, interest income, and veterans noneducation benefits, for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student
    • Information on cash; savings and checking account balances; investments, including stocks and bonds and real estate (but not including the home in which you live); and business and farm assets for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student
  • Keep these records! You may need them again. Do not mail your records to us.

Step 2: Get an FSA ID

  • If you don’t have one, Create Your FSA ID. If you are a dependent student, the parent (or one of the parents) whose information is reported on the FAFSA will also need an FSA ID.  If you have forgotten your Username and/or Password, go to Manage FSA ID (2nd Tab) to retrieve it.

Step 3: Start a Renewal FAFSA

  • Log in with your FSA ID at
  • If you submitted a FAFSA the previous year, you will have the option to complete the Renewal FAFSA by clicking the “FAFSA RENEWAL” button on your last submitted FAFSA tab. (This will allow you to prefill your new FAFSA using information from last year's form.)


Step 4: Complete Missing and Changed Information

  • Provide answers to the questions about income, assets, and taxes.
  • Provide school codes. (VCSU = 003008)
  • Update any information that has changed since the previous year.
  • Save and review your work often.

Step 5: Use Prior-Prior Federal Income Tax Returns to Update Income, Asset, and Tax Information

  • In the finances section of the online form, you will see a “Link to IRS” button if you are eligible to use the IRS DRT. 
  • Click the “Link to IRS” button and log in with your FSA ID to be transferred to the IRS to retrieve your info. 
  • Once at the IRS site, enter your information exactly as it appears on your federal income tax return, including your exact address. Then click the “Submit” button.
  • Check the “Transfer My Tax Information into the FAFSA form” box, and click the “Transfer Now” button. 
  • You will know that your federal tax return information has been successfully transferred because the words “Transferred from the IRS” will display in place of the IRS information in your FAFSA form.
  • For your protection, your tax information will not be displayed on either the IRS site or fafsa.govThe IRS DRT can be used by both students and parents. To learn more about the IRS DRT, visit

Step 6: Sign and Submit the Renewal FAFSA

  • If filing electronically, sign the Renewal FAFSA with your FSA ID.
  • If you are a dependent student, the parent whose information is reported on the FAFSA will also have to sign with their FSA ID.
  • After you submit the Renewal FAFSA, print a copy of the Confirmation Page.