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Tips for Completing the FAFSA

FAFSA Deadline

Mark Your Calendar for These Two Important Financial Aid Dates

For the upcoming 2018-2019 academic year, the earliest you can complete the FAFSA is October 1st, 2017. Complete the 18-19 FAFSA as soon as you can on or after October 1st, 2017 and take note of Western’s FAFSA priority filing deadline of January 31st, 2018. Meeting the January 31st, 2018, priority filing deadline best ensures your eligibility for some types of financial aid that may not be available to those who file a FAFSA after the deadline.

Put Western on the FAFSA: When completing the FAFSA, be sure to select Western Washington University, school code 003802, as an authorized school to receive your FAFSA information.


FAFSA on the Web: Did you know that the fastest, most accurate way to file your FAFSA is over the internet? You can begin the process now by logging on to Create a New FSA ID to obtain your Federal FSA ID. If you are a dependent student, both you and your parents can get an FSA ID which will serve as your signatures on the FAFSA. Next, go to the FAFSA online at anytime on or after October 1st to begin filling out the FAFSA.


Tips to avoid frequent FAFSA errors

  1. Read the directions carefully. While the FAFSA can seem confusing at first, detailed instructions are provided for most questions. If you are unsure about something, please feel free to contact the federal processor or our office for clarification.
  2. Round off all figures to the nearest dollar.
  3. Provide income information directly from your federal tax return. If you are using estimated figures, be as accurate as possible.
  4. Many students misreport income taxes on the FAFSA. Use income tax actually paid, not W-2 withholdings.
  5. Adjusted gross income (AGI) and income tax figures often get confused. Generally, the AGI will not be the same as your income tax.
  6. Divorced or remarried parents may refer to the detailed instructions available online at to help determine the parental information to include on the FAFSA. Stepparent information is required if your parent is remarried.
  7. Household size and number in college are often misreported. If you are independent, your household size includes yourself, your spouse, and any children who receive more than half of their support from you. If you are dependent, include yourself, your parents, and your parent's other children if they receive more than half of their support from your parents.
  8. A dependent student from a split family answers parent questions regarding the household you lived in more during the previous 12 months. If you did not live with either parent during the previous 12 months or lived with each parent an equal amount of time, provide parent and household information about the parent who provided more financial support.

Other Important Tips

  1. Follow our Financial Aid Checklist available online to help you navigate through the many steps and important dates to ensure your financial aid notification letter is delivered to you on time!
  2. Complete an application for admission to WWU. Contact the Admissions Office at (360) 650-3440 or on the web at for additional information.
  3. Review the Financial Aid Award provided to you by the Financial Aid Department. Follow the instructions provided to accept the offer of financial aid.
  4. Maintain a personal financial aid file for your records and keep copies of all documents.
  5. Keep your address current with the Registrar's Office by going online at Web4U
  6. The FAFSA is free! When filling out your FAFSA, be careful to navigate to the U.S. Department of Education's website rather than a for-profit organization that may charge a fee to fill out the Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA). Go to to navigate directly to the FAFSA website.
  7. Always be prepared to begin classes with some of your own funds even if you expect to receive financial aid.
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