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Attention seniors! Applying for financial aid? Then it’s time to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Pick up your FAFSA at your school’s college office, your local library or fill it out on the Internet ( But you have to act quickly. Deadline to qualify for state and federal loans is March 2.

Step One’s questions serve to identify you and verify your identity to the state and federal government.

What You Need:
• Your social security number
• If you are not a citizen, your Alien registration card (your "green card").
• Questions 35 and 36 are very important. If you do not request loans and work-study as a part of your financial aid here, it will be much more difficult to get them later. Play it safe and try to qualify for as much as you can.

Step Two will determine if you can contribute to your education.

What You Need:
• If you have filed or plan to file an income tax form for 1999 wages, you will need a copy of the income tax form (or your W-2 forms, supplied by your work, for an estimate count). If you don’t plan to file an income tax form, just add zeros!
• Questions 46 and 47 require you to use a worksheet in the instruction packet. Use it!

Step Three will determine if you are a dependent (which means someone else pays for most of your living) or whether you have dependents.

Step Four Congratulations! You’re a dependent.

What You’ll Need:
• Both your parent’s social security numbers.
• A copy of your parent’s 1999 income tax form. Just like in Section Two, if your parents haven’t filed their taxes yet, you can estimate their income using their W-2 forms.

Step Five Fill out this section ONLY if you have dependents, as determined in Section Three.

Almost done! Step Six wants to know which colleges should get a report of your financial aid eligibility.

What You’ll Need:
• Research the federal school codes of the top six colleges and universities you hope to attend. Don’t forget to include community colleges if that is an option for you. The application lists all the places you can find federal school codes.
• Now is the time to determine what your college housing situation will be and enter the appropriate code number. This is important because colleges assign different amounts of money (and financial aid awards) you’ll need based on your housing choice.

The last step (Step Seven) is easiest—if you can get your parents to sign something.

What You’ll Need:
• Only one parent’s signature.
• Don’t forget to sign it too!

General Tips
• As with all applications, don’t wait until the last minute!
• Get two copies of the FAFSA, or photocopy it. Go over your answers on this "rough draft," then transfer your answers to a nice, clean copy.
• Tear the application form from the instruction booklet before you begin so all the folds and sheets in the instruction packet won’t get confusing.
• Keep the instruction packet handy. There are codes and worksheets in the packet that you will need to complete the form.
• If you don’t know or understand something, ask someone. If your parents are protective about their financial information, respect their privacy and let them complete the rest of the form for you.