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Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

What is the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form students must complete to apply for federal and state student assistance. Many colleges and universities, especially public institutions, also require the FAFSA.
Learn more: fafsa.ed.gov

To complete the FAFSA application:

Students will need you and your parents’ current or previous year’s tax returns and W-2’s. (If your parents don’t have a social security number, you can still apply! Click here to learn how.)

When to apply: Deadline March 2

We strongly recommend students complete the application as early as possible before March 2. All financial data submitted are subject to verification.

  • Students who wish to apply for the 10,000 Degrees Undergraduate Scholarship must first fill out the FAFSA OR California DREAM ACT application. Eligible students must file the free application for federal student aid (fafsa) before completing the 10,000 Degrees application.

Step 1: Frequently Asked Questions

FAFSA FAQ - English

FAFSA FAQ - Spanish

Step 2: Creating an FSA ID


What is an FSA ID?

An FSA ID is a username and password that gives you access to Federal Student Aid’s online systems and can serve as your legal signature when submitting your FAFSA.

Students: You should create your own FSA ID, and your parent should create her/his own FSA ID.


You must have a valid social security number to create an FSA ID.

What if the students had a Social Security Number but the parent doesn’t?

The student will still create an FSA ID but the parent will not be able to create one. Once the student and parent complete the student’s FAFSA, a signature page will need to be printed and signed by the parent and sent to the Federal Student Aid office. The Federal Student Aid address is listed on the signature page.

What if a parent has already created an FSA ID for themselves or for another child?

Parents: If you previously created an FSA ID when you were a student, or for another child, you don’t need to create another one. You can only have one FSA ID linked to your Social Security number.

Do both parents need to create an FSA ID?

Only one parent needs to create an FSA ID.

Reminders when to creating your FSA ID:

  • Student and Parent must use their Full Legal Name as shown on their Social Security Card
  • Do not use your school email for your FSA ID, it will get deactivated and you will not be able to reset your password or retrieve your username if needed
  • Write down your username, password, contact info, security questions and answers down in a safe place

Where do I create my FSA ID?

You create an FSA ID at fsaid.ed.gov


  • If you have questions hover over the question mark at the end of the question for an in-depth explanation
  • Click on “show text” and write down or take a picture of your username, password, and challenge questions/answers.

How to create your account

  1. Find the website

  2. Create a username & Password

    • You create your own username and password. Remember that you cannot change your username after you create your account.
    • Your password cannot include consecutive numbers (1234), repeat numbers (0000), your birthday, or any part of you SSN
  3. Personal Information

    • Make sure you use your Full Legal Name as shown on your Social Security card. Include any hyphens in your name (-) as shown on your SSN card. If you have a long last name it might not all fit, write as much as it fits event if it gets cut off.
    • Click on “Show Text to make sure you enter your SSN correctly.
  4. Contact Information

    • Do not use a school email address for this account. You will lose access to your school email shortly after graduation and will not be able to access it if you need to recover your username or password. Create a new personal email address if needed.
    • Enter your permanent mailing address
    • We encourage to check off the boxes so that you can use your phone to reset your password if needed.
  5. Challenge Questions and Answers

    • Challenge Questions and Answers can be used to recover your username and change your password.
    • After selecting your Challenge Questions and inputting your answers, click on “Show Text” for every question and take a picture for future record.
  6. Confirm and Verify

    • Review all the information you provided
    • Accept the terms and conditions
    • You will receive a code to the phone number and email provided to “verify” the information.
  7. Complete

    • Reminder to write down your username, password, and your challenge questions and answers.
    • If your parent has a SSN and don’t already have an FSA ID, remember to create one for them too!

Creating FSA ID - English

Creating FSA ID - Spanish

Step 3: Fill out the FAFSA application

Visit fafsa.ed.gov to apply.

Step 4: Order Tax Transcript


What is a tax return transcript?

An IRS tax return transcript is a document that shows the financial information from the requested tax year. It is a summary of personal and financial information.

Why do I need a tax return transcript?

Some colleges may request a parent and/or student tax return transcript to verify the information reported on a FAFSA or CA Dream Act. The student must provide the tax return transcript by the given deadline to the schools financial aid office in order to receive their financial aid rewards.

How do I order a tax return transcript?

A tax return transcript can be obtained by online, mail, and phone.

How to request Tax ID

Visit the IRS wesbite

If requesting by mail

  1. Enter all personal information as reported on your most recent taxes
  2. Selecting the transcript
    • Select “Return Transcript” and the year your school has requested
    • Leave “Customer File Number” blank
  3. Confirmation
    • Once you submit your request, you will see a confirmation page.
    • Your tax return transcript will arrive in 5-10 days to the address on your most recent tax forms.

If Requesting Online

  1. Create an account using the personal information as reported on your most recent taxes
  2. Write down your username, password, phrase, and image
  3. After you have created your account and logged in, select “Higher Education/Student Aid” as the reason. You can leave “Customer File Number” Blank
  4. Select the “Return Transcript” for the year your school has requested
  5. Download and save your Tax Transcript


Step 5: Download your Student Aid Report


What is a Student Aid Report (SAR)?

A SAR is a summary of the information you provided on your FAFSA or CA Dream Act. This includes financial information, student dependency, and household size. It hides private information such as individuals SSN/ITINS.

Why does 10,000 Degrees Scholarship need it?

The SAR lists information as reported on your FAFS/CADA and this is the information that 10,000 Degrees Scholarship Team uses to award scholarships.

How do I retrieve my SAR and upload it on to 10,000 Degrees?

The student has to log in to their FAFSA or CADA to retrieve their SAR. Download their SAR as PDF, and re-upload it to 10,000 Degrees.

How to obtain your Student Aid Report

Login into your FAFSA account

  1. Once logged in, select “View or Print your Student Aid Report (SAR)
  2. Once you see your SAR, scroll to the bottom and click on “View Student Aid Report (PDF)
  3. Download PDF version of your SAR
    • Tip: title your document as “First Name Last Name, FAFSA SAR”

Re-uploading to your 10,000 Degrees portal

  1. One your 10,000 Degrees Scholarship, click on “choose file” and select your PDF
  2. Answer the additional questions using the information on your FAFSA