Tips for Filling Out the FAFSA

PREPARE (October – February)

Before starting your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA):

  • Apply for admission to Pacific  
  • Create an FSA ID. A username and password has replaced the Federal Student Aid PIN and must be used to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID confirms your identity when you access your financial aid information and electronically sign Federal Student Aid documents.
  • For more information on creating an FSA ID, download this PDF.

Gather the following information for student and parent(s):

  • Social Security Number 
  • Driver's license or state ID card number, if applicable
  • W-2 forms for the previous year and other records of money earned
  • 2019 Federal Income Tax Return Form 1040, or foreign tax return
  • Records of child support paid (if applicable)
  • Records of taxable earnings from federal work-study or other need-based work programs
  • Records of any grants, scholarships, and fellowship aid that was included in your or your parents' adjusted gross income (AGI)
  • Current bank statements
  • Current business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bond and other investment records
  • Documentation of U.S. permanent resident or other eligible noncitizen status

Complete a FAFSA Worksheet:

FILE (beginning October 1)

Note these important dates:

  • October 1: Students can begin filling out the FAFSA 
  • December 1: Priority FAFSA deadline for all new students (for best financial aid eligibility)
  • March 2: Cal Grant GPA Verification Form deadline (CA residents only)

Download these PDFs for additional information: 

Review these tips while filling out the FAFSA:

  • Name and Social Security Number: Enter your name and Social Security Number exactly as they appear on your Social Security Card. 
  • Degree or certificate: Unless you will be a graduate student, a professional Pharmacy student, or a fifth-year teaching credential student when you enter Pacific, indicate 1 (first bachelor's degree). 
  • Grade level: Entering first-year students, indicate 0 (never attended college/first year undergraduate), even if you have college units earned while in high school. Transfer students (including first-year students attending another college or university in spring or fall, estimate your grade level at Pacific, counting transferable units only.
  • First bachelor's degree before July 1 of your incoming year? If you will not have a four-year college degree when you enter Pacific, indicate No. 
  • Federal school code & housing plans: University of the Pacific's School Code is 001329.
  • Highest grade level parents completed: Answer for both of your legal parents (or adoptive parents).
  • Legal guardian: The definition of legal guardianship does not include your parents, even if they were appointed by a court to be your guardians. You are also not considered a legal guardian of yourself. By answering "Yes" it means you can provide a copy of the court's decision giving you this legal status.
  • Student/parent(s) financial information: All students must fill out this section, even if you don't have any income, savings, or investments and do not file a Federal Income Tax Return. If an item does not apply to you, enter 0.

Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on the FAFSA:

  • To use the DRT, log in to the FAFSA website and proceed to the parent and/or student financial section where there will be a box labeled "IRS Data Retrieval Tool."
  • Provide the requested information, and you will be directed to the IRS's website, where you will authorize the IRS to transfer your tax information onto the FAFSA.
  • You will then be directed back to the FAFSA website, where you will sign and resubmit your FAFSA with Pacific's school code, 001329.
  • If the FAFSA is not resubmitted after the DRT is used, the tax information will not transfer to Pacific.

Review your application, then sign:

  • Make sure your FAFSA is signed with the student FSA ID. If parent information is required on your FAFSA, a parent FSA ID is also required. If parent does not have a Social Security number, they cannot electronically sign the FAFSA; in this case, print the signature page, sign it, and mail it to the address on the page. Your student's application will be processed once your signature is received.
  • For more information on creating an FSA ID, download this PDF.

COMPLETE YOUR FILE (December – February)

Verification is a process in which the U.S. Department of Education requires schools to collect documents to verify the information submitted by you and/or your parent(s) on the FAFSA. Schools are prohibited from awarding/disbursing financial aid until the verification process is completed by the Office of Financial Aid.

  • It is important to not submit any documentation unless requested to do so by the Office of Financial Aid.
  • If selected, the Office of Financial Aid will send you a link to create an account through "Verify My FAFSA" secure website, where you and/or your parent can submit and electronically sign your verification documents.
  • Monitor your student email account for communications from the Office of Financial Aid.

FOLLOW UP (May – July)

Check your requirements:

  • Have all of the requirements listed under the Financial Aid section of your insidePacific been resolved (i.e. "signed off") with an "R" status? Aid is estimated until all requirements have been resolved/signed off.

Review and accept/decline your financial aid awards, including desired loan amounts:

  • You can view your award here.

If you have a Federal Direct Loan:

  • Complete both the Entrance Counseling and the Master Promissory Note on the Federal Student Aid website.
  • You will need to use your FSA ID to sign in. For information on creating an FSA ID, download this PDF.
  • You do not need to complete Financial Awareness Counseling.

If you have been awarded a Cal Grant:

If your parent(s) wants to apply for the Federal PLUS Loan:

  • Parent(s) must apply on the Federal Student Aid website, as this is not automatically awarded.
  • Parents will need to sign in using their information and their FSA ID. For information on creating an FSA ID, download this PDF.

RENEW (for continuing students only)

Priority deadline for continuing Pacific students: February 1

  • Create an FSA ID. A username and password has replaced the Federal Student Aid PIN and must be used to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID confirms your identity when you access your financial aid information and electronically sign Federal Student Aid documents. For more information on creating an FSA ID, download this PDF.
  • Complete FAFSA Renewal Application.
  • Make sure the FAFSA is signed with the student and parent FSA IDs, if required.

A note on grade level:

  • Continuing Pacific students should indicate their projected grade level for the following academic year (i.e., counting in courses that will be completed at the end of spring). 

Complete your file (only if selected for verification):

Verification is a process in which the U.S. Department of Education requires schools to collect documents to verify the information submitted by you and/or your parent(s) on the FAFSA. Schools are prohibited from awarding/disbursing financial aid until the verification process is completed by the Office of Financial Aid.

  • It is important to not submit any documentation unless requested to do so by the Office of Financial Aid.
  • If selected, the Office of Financial Aid will send you a link to create an account through "Verify My FAFSA" secure website, where you and/or your parent can submit and electronically sign your verification documents.
  • Monitor your student email account for communications from the Office of Financial Aid.

A  note for California students: 

  • If you did not receive a Cal Grant last year and are applying for one this year, completion of a FASFA and GPA verification must be completed by March 2.  
  • Students with more than 24 units earned at Pacific: Request from the Office of the Registrar.
  • Students with less than 24 units earned at Pacific: Request from high school or prior college.