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California State University, Long Beach

FAFSA Filing Tips

The best way to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is early, and online. If you apply online, your application will be processed faster and will likely be more accurate because the FAFSA Web site is designed to catch common errors. The online application allows you to skip questions that are not relative to your unique situation. It also allows for retrieving your tax information directly from the IRS – minimizing many common mistakes, as well as streamlining the verification process.  You can save and continue the FAFSA at any time online and then sign your application electronically using a personal identification number (PIN) which you can get from the Federal Student Aid PIN Web site.

Tell your friends! The official FAFSA is at www.FAFSA.gov - not at a .com web site. If you go to a .com site, you will probably be asked to pay to submit the FAFSA. Remember, the first F in "FAFSA" stands for "free" – so use the official government site to submit your application.

Making mistakes on your FAFSA could delay your application and possibly make you lose out on some financial aid.

Below is a list of materials/documents that you will need in order to complete the FAFSA:

  • CSULB's School Code: 001139
  • Federal PIN (available at www.pin.ed.gov) to electronically sign the FAFSA:
    • Sign up for a PIN for the student
    • Sign up for a PIN for one parent
    • To secure a PIN you will need your Social Security Card, correct name (as displayed on Social Security card), and date of birth.
  • Student's Social Security Card
  • Parent's Social Security Card
  • Your driver's license (or State ID)
  • Untaxed Income records
  • Student and parent's bank statements
  • Student and parent's business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bonds, and other investment records
  • Your alien registration or permanent resident card if student or parents are not U.S. citizens.
  • Your 2012 income information (review the IRS Data Retrieval information below)
  • Your Parent's 2012 income information (review the IRS Data Retrieval information below)

IRS Data Retrieval

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is available for online FAFSA submittals and is accessible through the FAFSA web site www.fafsa.gov.  The retrieval tool allows FAFSA applicants and parents with the ability to transfer their income information from the IRS to the FAFSA.  See below.

ALL FAFSA on the Web (FOTW) applicants and parents of dependent applicants who are determined to be eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, will be directed to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to report and/or update their income information on the FAFSA.

Benefits of Using the Tool

  • Applicants can complete their FAFSA more easily and accurately!
  • The Data Retrieval tool will increase the accuracy in the awarding for student financial aid funds!
  • Applicants selected for verification can use the Data Retrieval tool to update their income information and avoid unnecessary processing delays!

Important Changes to the 2013-2014 FAFSA Process

  • ALL applicants and parents who are determined to be eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval tool will be directed to do so while filling out the FAFSA.
  • Applicants and parents who indicate they will file a federal tax return will receive email communication(s) directing them to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update their income information once they have filed their 2012 federal income tax return.
  • Applicants selected for the verification process will be required to either use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (or) to  request a tax transcript from the IRS which can later be submitted to the Financial Aid Office.

When Will Data Be Available From The IRS?

Due to the IRS delay in the start of tax filing season, The Data Retrieval Tool will not be available until the last week of February, 2013.  After that, the following timelines will apply.

Electronic Tax Filers Data will be available within 2 weeks of filing taxes
Paper Tax Filers Data will be available within 6 – 8 weeks of filing taxes

If you plan to submit your FAFSA before you and/or your parents complete and submit your 2012 Federal Tax Return, then be sure to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update your FAFSA record once the returns have been submitted and the income data is available to be retrieved.

Who Is “Not” Eligible To Use The Tool?

  • Married couples who filed separate tax returns.
  • Applicants (or parents) whose marital status has changed as of January 1st, 2013.
  • Applicants (or parents) who filed an amended tax return.
  • Applicants (or parents) who are neither eligible nor required to file a 2012 Federal Tax Return.