Need to fill out the 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) but don't know where to start?" />Need to fill out the 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) but don't know where to start?" />
 

8 Steps to Filling out the FAFSA


Posted By: Melissa Elliott - 10/1/2019 12:00:00 AM

Need to fill out the 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) but don't know where to start?  We are here to help!  Let's walk through the process step by step. 

1. Create an account (FSA ID).

  • Student: An FSA ID is a username and password you need to sign the FAFSA form online. If you don’t have an FSA ID, get an FSA ID here ASAP. It takes about 10 minutes to create an FSA ID.
  • Parent: If your child is required to report parent information on the FAFSA form, you need to create your own FSA ID in order to sign your child’s FAFSA form online. Create an FSA ID here.

IMPORTANT: Some of the most common FAFSA errors occur when the student and parent mix up their FSA IDs. If you don’t want your financial aid to be delayed, it’s extremely important that each parent and each student create his or her own FSA ID and that they do not share it with ANYONE.  

2. Start the FAFSA at fAFSA.gov.

The 2020–21 FAFSA form is now available! Even if your school's deadline isn't for a while, you should complete the FAFSA form as soon as possible.  Don’t wait until the last minute to apply!

Go to fafsa.gov to get started.

Choose which FAFSA form you’d like to complete:

  • 2020–21 FAFSA form if you will be attending college Fall 20, Spring 21 or Summer 21.
  • 2019–20 FAFSA form if you will be attending college Fall 19, Spring 20 or Summer 20.
  • Both: If you will be attending college during both time periods and haven’t completed your 2019–20 FAFSA form yet, complete that first, wait for one to three days until it processes, then go back in and complete the 2020–21 FAFSA form.

TIP: If you are given the option to complete a “renewal” FAFSA form, choose that option. When you choose to renew your FAFSA form, your demographic information from the previous year will roll over into your new application, saving you some time. Remember, the FAFSA form is not a one-time thing.  You must complete a FAFSA form for each school year.

3. Fill out the Student Demographics section.

This is information such as your name, date of birth, etc. If you have completed the FAFSA form in the past or if you log into the FAFSA form with your FSA ID, a lot of your personal information will be prepopulated to save you time. Make sure you enter your personal information exactly as it appears on your Social Security card. (That’s right, no nicknames.)

Parents: Remember that the FAFSA form is the student’s application, not yours. When the FAFSA form says “you” or “your,” it’s referring to the student. Pay attention to whether you’re being asked for student or parent information.

4. List the schools to which you want your FAFSA information sent.

In the School Selection section, you can add up to 10 schools so add every school you’re considering, even if you haven’t applied or been accepted yet. The school code for Vernon College is 010060. 

5. Answer the dependency status questions.

In the dependency status section, you’ll be asked a series of specific questions to determine whether you are required to provide parent information on the FAFSA form.

The dependency guidelines are set by Congress and are different from those used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Even if you live on your own, support yourself, and file taxes on your own, you may still be considered a dependent student for federal student aid purposes. If you are determined to be a dependent student, you’ll be required to report information about your parent(s). If you’re determined to be an independent student, you won’t have to provide parent information and you can skip the next step.

6. Fill out the Parent Demographics section.

This is where your parent(s) will provide basic demographic information. Remember that it doesn’t matter if you don’t live with your parent(s); you still must report information about them if you were determined to be a dependent student in the step above.

7. Supply your financial information.

Here is where you and your parent(s) (if applicable) will provide your financial information. This step is incredibly simple if you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). The IRS DRT allows you to import your IRS tax information into the FAFSA form with just a few clicks. Using this tool also may reduce the amount of paperwork you need to provide to your school. So if you’re eligible, use it!  To access the tool, indicate that you’ve “already completed” taxes on the student or parent finances page. If you’re eligible, you’ll see a “LINK TO IRS” button. Choose that option and follow the prompts.

Note: The information transferred from the IRS will no longer be displayed, but you will get a confirmation message letting you know that the transfer was successful. You’ll also know which items have been transferred from the IRS because you’ll see “Transferred from the IRS” in place of the answer fields. Please make sure to answer all other questions.

8. Sign and submit your FAFSA form.

You’re not finished with the FAFSA form until you (and your parent, if you’re a dependent student) sign it. The quickest and easiest way to sign your FAFSA form is online with your FSA ID.  

Sign and Submit Tips:    

  • If you or your parent forgot your FSA ID username or password, you can retrieve it.
  • Make sure you and your parent don’t mix up your FSA IDs. This is one of the most common errors we see, and why it’s extremely important for each person to create his or her own FSA ID and not share it with anyone.
  • Make sure the parent who is using his or her FSA ID to sign the FAFSA form chooses the right parent number from the drop-down menu. If your parent doesn’t remember whether he or she was listed as Parent 1 or Parent 2, he or she can go back to the parent demographics section to check.
  • Here’s what you should do if you get an error saying that your FSA ID information doesn’t match the information provided on the FAFSA form.
  • If you have siblings, your parent can use the same FSA ID to sign FAFSA forms for all of his or her children. Your parent can also transfer his or her information into your sibling’s application by choosing the option provided on the FAFSA confirmation page.
  • We recommend signing the FAFSA form with an FSA ID because it’s the fastest way to get your FAFSA form processed. However, if you and/or your parent are unable to sign the FAFSA form electronically with an FSA ID, you can mail in a signature page. From the sign and submit page, select “Other options to sign and submit” and then choose “Print A Signature Page.” Just keep in mind that your FAFSA form will take longer to process if you go this route.

I’m finished. What’s next?

Congrats on finishing your FAFSA!  Now monitor your status on My VC and turn in any required paperwork ASAP! The VC Financial Aid Office wants to provide you the financial support you need to afford your education!


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TEACHING. LEARNING. LEADING.
Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m. - 6 p.m. // Friday - 8:00 a.m. - 12 p.m. 
  • Vernon Campus
    4400 College Drive
    Vernon, TX 76384
    940.552.6291
  • Century City Center
    4105 Maplewood
    Wichita Falls, TX 76308
    940.696.8752
  • Skills Training Center
    2813 Central Expressway East
    Wichita Falls, TX 76302
    940.766.3369
  • Seymour Learning Center
    200 Stadium Dr
    Seymour, TX 76380
    940.889.3133
1970 marked the beginning of Vernon College. Throughout this decade the College continued to grow and more students enrolled in both on- and off-campus courses. On January 20, 1970, a majority of the citizens of Wilbarger County voted to create the Wilbarger County Junior College District. Following that decision, Vernon Regional Junior College was established and on April 9, 1970, the newly elected Board of Trustees appointed Dr. David L. Norton as the College’s first president. Campus construction began in May 1971, and included an Academic Science Center, Administration-Fine Arts Center, Applied Arts Center, Library, and Student Center. The following year, on September 5, 1972, classes met for the first time on the Vernon campus with a total of 608 students. On August 1, 1974, Dr. Jim M. Williams became the College’s second president. In the fall semester of that year, combined on- and off-campus enrollment exceeded 800 students. During the 1975-76 academic year, the College expanded its services to include a learning center on Sheppard Air Force Base. During this year, enrollment in credit courses, both on- and off-campus, rose to a level of 1,199. The scope of the Vocational Nursing Program was enlarged during the 1976-77 academic year with the assumption of the Bethania School of Vocational Nursing in Wichita Falls. In August 1976 the Physical Education Center was dedicated in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Thomas A. King longtime benefactors of Vernon College. Growth and changes continued during the 1980s. In August 1980 a Student Residence Center, designed to house 128 students, opened for occupancy. Further expansion of program offerings in the Wichita Falls area was accomplished through absorption of an existing proprietary school that was renamed the Vernon College Technical Center and the integration of the nursing program from the Wichita Falls Independent School District. On March 22, 1982, Dr. Joe Mills took over the leadership of the College as the third president. That fall, the College fielded its first intercollegiate rodeo team. During 1983-84, the Department of Cosmetology and the Career Development Center (previously known as the North Texas Skills Center) were established in Wichita Falls. On the Vernon campus, the Chaparral Center was completed, and the Pease River farm purchased through a state land trade. The following academic year, 1984-85, Vernon College reached a record credit enrollment of 1,863 and a record continuing education enrollment of 7,056 registrations. A Vocational Nursing Program opened in Seymour, and the Board of Trustees established a college foundation and approved an agreement to allow construction of the Red River Valley Museum on the Vernon campus. In February 1987 the College played its first intercollegiate baseball game on the Vernon campus. During May of that year, the new Natatorium was opened in the King Physical Education Center. A newly constructed Athletic Dormitory opened to house 28 athletes in August 1988. In October, Trustees voted to add women’s volleyball as a varsity sport, effective with the fall 1989 semester. In May 1989 Vernon College moved all Wichita Falls programs to one centralized location—Century City Center. Since the College opened its doors 38 years ago, many individuals, corporations, foundations, and organizations have made an investment in our students through the creation of endowed and annual scholarships. As of this year, more than 100 scholarship funds are available to help students pursue their educational dreams.VERNON COLLEGE PHILOSOPHY: Vernon College is a constantly evolving institution, dedicated primarily to effective teaching and regional enhancement. With this dedication to teaching and to the community, the College encourages open inquiry, personal and social responsibility, critical thinking, and life-long learning for students, faculty, and other individuals within its service area. The College takes as its guiding educational principle the proposition that, insofar as available resources permit, instruction should be adapted to student needs. This principle requires both flexibility in instructional strategies and maintenance of high academic standards. Strong programs of assessment and accountability complement this educational principle. VC accepts the charge of providing a college atmosphere free of bias, in which students can exercise initiative and personal judgment, leading to a greater awareness of personal self-worth. It strives to provide every student with opportunities to develop the tools necessary to become a contributing, productive member of society. Vision VERNON COLLEGE VISION: Vernon College will promote a culture of success for our students and communities through learner-centered quality instructional programs and exemplary services. Values VERNON COLLEGE VALUES: Vernon College promotes a culture of success through our shared values and commitment to: Accessibility Accountability Building Relationships Diversity Inclusion Innovation Leadership Quality Student Success Teamwork Our values define who we are and guide us in conducting our business every day. Our values are our morals – what is important to us at our college. Mission VERNON COLLEGE MISSION The mission of Vernon College is teaching, learning, and leading. Vernon College is a comprehensive community college that integrates education with opportunity through our instructional programs and student support services by means of traditional and distance learning modes. Therefore, to fulfill its mission, the College will provide access, within its available resources, to: Career technical/workforce programs up to two years in length leading to associate degrees or certificates; Career technical/workforce programs leading directly to employment in semi-skilled and skilled occupations; Freshman and sophomore courses in arts and sciences, including the curricula leading to associate and baccalaureate degrees; Ongoing adult education programs for occupational upgrading or personal enrichment; Compensatory education programs designed to fulfill the commitment of an admissions policy allowing the enrollment of disadvantaged students; ; A continuing program of counseling and guidance designed to assist students in achieving their individual educational goals; Career technical/workforce development programs designed to meet local and statewide needs; Support services for educational programs and college-related activities; Adult literacy and other basic skills programs for adults; and Other To help prospective and current students, faculty, and staff locate important information about Vernon College, this webpage provides links to helpful information on a variety of government mandated and consumer information. Examples are academic programs, cost of attendance, financial aid, safety and security, and institutional financial reports. Vernon College’s presentation of this information complies with the Higher Education Act, as amended, and implementing regulations.