A Step-By-Step Guide To Completing The 2019- 2020 FAFSA Questions - Filling out the FAFSA application can be challenging to understand, let alone ...

 
A Step-By-Step Guide To Completing The 2019- 2020 FAFSA Questions - Filling out the FAFSA application can be challenging to understand, let alone ...
A Step-By-Step Guide To
Completing The 2019-
2020 FAFSA Questions
           ®

Filling out the FAFSA application can be
challenging to understand, let alone complete.
We get that.
A Step-By-Step Guide To Completing The 2019- 2020 FAFSA Questions - Filling out the FAFSA application can be challenging to understand, let alone ...
Our goal is to break down the FAFSA, question by question. We’ll clarify why each question is asked,
and how to best answer each one accurately.

We’ll walk you through the why and how of the questions on FAFSA. If you are having trouble with one
of the questions, email us at mike@nitrocollege.com. We’d be happy to help answer any FAFSA-related
questions you may have.

For those filling out the FAFSA via the online application, check out our interactive guide here.

About the FAFSA®?

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a necessary requirement for all students seeking
Federal and State financial aid for higher education in the United States. This application determines
how much financial aid a student is eligible to receive from the government based on need, and often,
students are required to fill out the FAFSA when applying for private scholarships and grants.
A Step-By-Step Guide To Completing The 2019- 2020 FAFSA Questions - Filling out the FAFSA application can be challenging to understand, let alone ...
Table of Contents
Step One - Student Information                           Question #53: Ward of State
Questions #1-10: Name, Address, Social Security Number   Question #54: Emancipated Minor
and Date of Birth                                        Question #55: Legal Guardianship
Questions #11-12: Driver’s License Number & State ID     Questions #56-58: Homeless
Question #13: Email Address
Questions #14-15: Citizenship & Immigration Status       Step Four - Parent Information
Questions #16-17: Marital Status                         Questions #59-60: Parents’ Marital Status
Questions #18-20: Legal Residence                        Questions #61-69: Parents’ Social Security Information
Question #21: Gender                                     Question #70-74: Parents’ Residency Status & Household
Question #22: Selective Service                          Occupants Attending College
Question #23: Prior Drug Convictions                     Questions #75-78: Parental Federal Benefit Status
Questions #24-25: Parents’ Level of Education            Question #79: WIC Benefits
Questions #26-28: Student’s Education Details            Question #80: Parents’ Income Tax Return
Question #29: Student Grade Level                        Questions #81-82: Parents’ Income Tax Return
Question #30: Degree or Certificate Seeking              Information
Question #31: Work Study                                 Question #83: Parents’ Eligibility for 1040A or 1040EZ
                                                         Question #84: Dislocated Worker
Step Two - Student Financial Information                 Question #85: Parents’ Adjusted Gross Income
Question #32: Student Income Tax Return                  Question #86: Parents’ Income Tax
Questions #33-34: Income Tax Return Details              Question #87: Parents’ Tax Exemptions
Question #35: Form 1040A or 1040EZ Eligibility           Questions #88-89: Parents’ Income Information
Question #36: Student & Spousal Adjusted Gross Income    Question #90: Parents’ Total Balance of Cash
Question #37: Student & Spouse’s Income Tax              Question #91: Parents’ Investments
Question #38: Student & Spouse’s Tax Exemptions          Question #92: Parents’ Current Businesses
Question #39: Student Earnings                           Question #93: Parents’ Additional Financial Information
Question #40: Spousal Earnings                           Question #94: Parents’ Untaxed Income
Question #41: Student & Spousal Total Balance of Cash
Questions #42-43: Student & Spouse’s Investments /       Step Five - Student Household Information
Businesses                                               Questions #95-96: Student Household Information
Question #44: Student Additional Financial Information   Questions #97-101: Student Federal Benefit Status
Question #45: Student Untaxed Income                     Question #102: Dislocated Worker Status

Step Three - Student Status                              Step Six & Seven - Send, Sign and Date
Question #46: Age Before Jan 1, 1994                     Question #103: Schools to Receive FAFSA
Question #47: Current Marital Status                     Questions #104-108: FAFSA Sign Off
Question #48: Graduate Program Status
Questions #49-50: Military Status
Questions #51-52: Legal Dependents
A Step-By-Step Guide To Completing The 2019- 2020 FAFSA Questions - Filling out the FAFSA application can be challenging to understand, let alone ...
Step One - Student Information
Questions #1-10: Name, Address, Social Security Number and Date of Birth
Your full name (exactly as it appears on your Social Security card)
1. Last                                                                       2. First                                                 3. Middle
   name                                                                          name                                                     initial

Your permanent mailing address
4. Number and street
   (include apt. number)

5. City (and country if                                                                  6. State                   7. ZIP code
   not U.S.)

8. Your Social Security Number See Notes page 9.      9. Your date    MONTH      DAY       YEAR        10. Your telephone number
                                                         of birth
                  –         –                                                                              (               )            –

Why are they asking this information?
Although these questions may seem fairly straightforward, it is important to be sure to enter your
information into these fields accurately. If you are sending the FAFSA to multiple schools, they will most
likely have an individual record with your information that will need to match in order for them to receive
your FAFSA.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
  • Be sure to enter your name as it appears on your Social Security card.
  • Be sure to enter your Social Security number accurately.
  • Enter your permanent home/mailing address, including home number, street, city, state and zip code.
    (Note: Although you may use your college’s mailing address after you are an enrolled student, you will
    still need to use your home address when filing the FAFSA.)
  • Be sure to enter your most accessible phone number. This can be your home phone number or your cell
    phone number. Do not enter dashes.

Questions #11-12: Driver’s License Number & State ID
Your driver’s license number and driver’s license state (if you have one)
11. Driver’s license                                                                                12. Driver’s license
    number                                                                                              state

Why are they asking this information?
For this question, you have the option to enter your driver’s license number or number from your state-
issued identification card. This information is not required to complete the application, particularly in the
instance that you do not have a current license. Providing this information allows for further confirmation
of your identity to the Department of Education. If you have a state-issued ID card, you do not want to enter
this information instead, as it may cause a mismatch when the application is processed.

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A Step-By-Step Guide To Completing The 2019- 2020 FAFSA Questions - Filling out the FAFSA application can be challenging to understand, let alone ...
How to answer this question / fill out this section
If you choose to enter this information, enter the number without spaces or dashes as well as the state the
license was issued from the drop menu.
If you are not a licensed driver, you may have a state-issued identification card. In this field, you can enter
this optional information without spaces or dashes. Using the drop-down menu, you can add the state in
which your card was issued.

Should I provide my driver’s license on FAFSA?
Providing your driver’s license information on the FAFSA does not imply that the Department of Education or
college of choice will be reviewing your driving record. It is simply a means of further providing evidence of
your identity for security purposes.

Question #13: Email Address
 13. Your e-mail address. If you provide your e-mail address, we will communicate with you electronically. For example, when your FAFSA has been processed, you will be
                                                                                                                         them to communicate with you. If you do not

Why are they asking this information?
The Department of Education, and even your school, will use this address as primary communication with
you as it relates to your FAFSA.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
Enter your most current and used email address in this field.

Questions #14-15: Citizenship & Immigration Status
 14. Are you a U.S.      Yes, I am a U.S. citizen (U.S. national). Skip to question 16. .....   .   1   15. Alien Registration Number
     citizen?
                         No, but I am an eligible noncitizen. Fill in question 15. .........    .   2
     Mark only one.
     See Notes page 9.
                                                                                                               A
                         No, I am not a citizen or eligible noncitizen. Skip to question 16.        3

Why are they asking this information?
The Department of Education requires that you meet certain citizenship criteria in order to receive Federal
financial aid. You are automatically eligible if you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. national (natives of American
Samoa or Swain’s Island).

How to answer this question / fill out this section
  • A person is or becomes a United States citizen by birth within the 50 States, the District of Columbia, or
    by naturalization. Select “Yes, I am a U.S. Citizen” if you meet this criteria.
  • If you’re not a U.S. citizen, there are still other levels at which you can receive Federal Financial Aid.
    Eligible noncitizens must meet the following criteria:
    úú A U.S. permanent resident, with a Permanent Resident Card (I-551), or a conditional permanent
        resident with a Conditional Green Card (I-551C)
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úú Other Eligible Noncitizen with an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the Department of Homeland
       Security showing any one of the following designations: “Refugee,” “Asylum Granted,” “Parolee” (I-94
       confirms that you were paroled for a minimum of one year and status has not expired), T-Visa holder
       (T-1, T-2, T-3, etc.), or “Cuban-Haitian Entrant”
    úú The holder of a valid certification or eligibility letter from the Department of Health and Human
       Services showing a designation of “Victim of human trafficking”
    úú A resident of the Republic of Palau (PW), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (MH), or the Federated
       States of Micronesia (FM)
    úú A Canadian-born Native American under terms of the Jay Treaty
  • Select “No, but I am an eligible noncitizen” if you meet the above criteria.
  • Select “Neither citizen nor eligible noncitizen” if you are in the U.S. and have:
    úú Been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
    úú A F1 or F2 student visa
    úú A J1 or J2 exchange visitor visa
    úú A G series visa (pertaining to international organizations)

Other categories not included under U.S. citizen and eligible noncitizen:
  • If you are neither a citizen nor an eligible noncitizen, you are not eligible for federal student aid, but you
    may still qualify for local state grants. For this reason, you will still want to continue and complete the
    FAFSA.

Questions #16-17: Marital Status
16. What is your                                                                                               17. Month and year you were married,    MONTH      YEAR
                        I am single . . . . . . . . . . . . .   1   I am separated . . . . . . . . . . .   3

    marital status as                                                                                              remarried, separated, divorced or
    of today?           I am married/remarried                  2   I am divorced or widowed               4
                                                                                                                   widowed.
   See Notes page 9.                                                                                              See Notes page 9.

Why are they asking this information?
You are asked about your marital status in order to determine if you will be required to provide any spouse’s
information along with your own throughout the application.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
If you are married, and file separate federal tax returns, you will still be expected to report your spouse’s
income and other relevant information. Select from the drop down menu whether you are single, married/
remarried, separated, divorced or widowed. In cases of separation, divorce, or if your spouse has died, you
will not need to provide any financial information besides your own in the FAFSA.

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Questions #18-20: Legal Residence
18. What is your         STATE      19. Did you become a legal                        20. If the answer to question 19 is “No,”   MONTH     YEAR
                                                                       Yes       1
    state of legal                      resident of this state                            give month and year you became a
    residence?                           before January 1, 2014?        No       2        legal resident of that state.

Why are they asking this information?
The questions in this section ask about what/where you consider to be your permanent home/mailing
address. This question appears on the FAFSA form so that the Department of Education has a residence on
file for you for all relevant correspondence while you are in school and for State agencies to determine your
potential eligibility for a State grant, if applicable.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
Even if you reside on campus during the time you are enrolled, you will still need to list your permanent,
legal address. This could be your parent or guardian’s home, or a permanent residence where you typically
receive your mail.

Question #21: Gender
21. Are you male or
                         Male        1
    female?
   See Notes page 9.   Female        2

Why are they asking this information?
You are asked to answer about your gender in this question as a way to determine whether or not you are
legally required to register for Selective Service.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
Answer this question “Male” or “Female” with reference to your gender assignment at birth.

Question #22: Selective Service
22. If female, skip to question 23. Most male students must register with the
    Selective Service System to receive federal aid. If you are male, age 18-25 and    Register me      1

                                                             See Notes page 9.

Why are they asking this information?
The Department of Education requires that all (male) students seeking Federal financial aid be registered
for Selective Service, as this is a general requirement for all male citizens within the United States between
the ages of 18 and 25. Male citizens over the age of 25 are not required to register, but must submit
documentation as to why they could not register if a citizen during that age. Female students seeking
Federal financial aid are not required to have registered for Selective Service.

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How to answer this question / fill out this section
In this section, you will simply need to check whether or not you are already registered. Note: If you have
not yet registered, and would like the Department of Education to do so on your behalf, you may select that
option in this section.

What is Selective Service system FAFSA?
Selective Service is the system used in the United States to draft young people into armed service. Though
the United States at present has no draft, young men are required by law to register with the Selective
Service when they reach the age of 18.

Question #23: Prior Drug Convictions

   federal student aid (such as grants, work-study, or loans)?                                                       No    1

                                                                                                                    Yes    3
                                                                                                       ts your
   eligibility for aid. If you are unsure how to answer this question, call 1-800-433-3243 for help.

Why are they asking this information?
Prior drug convictions may make you ineligible for Federal financial aid, though there are certain conditions
where you could still be eligible.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
You will want to select “No” to this question if:
• You have never received federal student aid.
• You have never had a conviction for possessing or selling illegal drugs.
• The conviction was not a state or federal offense.
• The conviction occurred before you were 18 years of age and you were not tried as an adult.
• The conviction was removed from your record.
• The offense that led to your conviction did not occur during a period of enrollment for which you were
   receiving federal student aid (grants, work-study, or loans).

Selecting “Yes” in this section does not automatically disqualify you for Federal aid eligibility. You will be
given additional questions beyond this to determine if that is the case. Even if ineligible for Federal aid, you
may still qualify for your home state’s grant or assistance programs, so it is recommended that you continue
through and submit the FAFSA.

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Questions #24-25: Parents Level of Education

24. Highest school completed by Parent 1                                    Middle school/Jr. high        1    High school   2     College or beyond        34   Other/unknown

25. Highest school completed by Parent 2                                    Middle school/Jr. high        12   High school         College or beyond        34   Other/unknown

Why are they asking this information?
This question asks you to report your parent/parents’ highest level of education. Your answer may help to
determine if you might be eligible for State grant(s).

How to answer this question / fill out this section
Select the most appropriate level in the drop down menu for each parent, if applicable. For purposes of this
question, you will not want to answer it for a legal guardian. This is because if you have a legal guardian, you
are considered an Independent student and do not need to provide your legal guardian’s information in any
of the other answers to questions on your FAFSA.

Questions #26-28: Student’s Education Details
26. What will your high school completion status be when you begin college in the 2019-2020 school year?
   High school diploma. Answer question 27. ..............................................                      .     1          Homeschooled. Skip to question 28. .........     .   3

                                                                                             Skip to question 28.     2          None of the above. Skip to question 28. ......   .   4

Why are they asking this information?
This section aims to determine your level of high school completion, undergraduate, graduate, or
professional schooling prior to enrolling in an institute of higher learning. This will help to determine your
dependency status, which will also determine your eligibility for Federal financial aid.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
You will select either “high school diploma,” “GED certificate or state authorized high school equivalent
certificate,” or “home schooled” from the drop down menu. You will need to have completed whichever
option you select prior to enrolling and attending your college of choice.

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Question #29: Student Grade Level
29. What will your college grade level be when you begin the
    2019-2020 school year?
   Never attended college and 1st year undergraduate ............                                            .          0

   Attended college before and 1st year undergraduate ...........                                            .          1

   2nd year undergraduate/sophomore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                             2

   3rd year undergraduate/junior .................................                                           .          3

   4th year undergraduate/senior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                    4

   5th year/other undergraduate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                    5

   1st year graduate/professional .................................                                          .          6

   Continuing graduate/professional or beyond ...................                                            .          7

Why are they asking this information?
Your Student Grade Level is the grade level for which you are applying for Federal financial aid, which is the
upcoming academic year.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
For example, if you had just completed your “1st year /Freshman year” in full, you will select “2nd year/
Sophomore year” in the dropbox.

Additional considerations
When filling out your FAFSA, your grade level does not mean how many years you’ve attended school/
college, but rather the status of your progress within your degree or certificate program.

Question #30: Degree or Certificate Seeking

      2019-2020 school year?
     1st bachelor’s degree ....................................................                                                     .   1

     2nd bachelor’s degree ...................................................                                                      .   2

     Associate degree (occupational or technical program) ....................                                                      .   3

     Associate degree (general education or transfer program). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                        4

     of less than two years). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5

     of two or more years) ....................................................                                                     .   6

     Teaching credential (nondegree program) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                          7

     Graduate or professional degree .........................................                                                      .   8

     Other/undecided ........................................................                                                       .   9

Why are they asking this information?
For this question, you are asked to report your intended degree or certificate for which you are apply
for Federal financial aid. The Department of Education wants to know what area of study you intend to
undertake academically while receiving federal funding. Undergraduate programs offer different types of aid
and different amounts of Federal financial aid compared to graduate types and amounts.

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How to answer this question / fill out this section
There are several types and levels of degrees and certificates for which you could potentially receive aid:
  • 1st bachelor’s degree
  • 2nd bachelor’s degree
  • Associate degree (occupational or technical program)
  • Associate degree (general education / transfer program)
  • Certificate / diploma (occupational / technical / education program of less than 2 years)
  • Certificate / diploma (occupational / technical / education program of at least 2 years)
  • Teaching credential program (non-degree program)
  • Graduate / professional degree
  • Other / undecided
 Select one of these options from the drop down menu.

What is the 1st bachelor’s degree on FAFSA?
A 1st bachelor’s degree selection means that you had not previously sought or completed a bachelor’s
degree at an institution of higher education before this point. An associate’s degree is not a bachelor’s
degree, for example, so that you could enter “1st bachelor’s degree,” if you possess an associate’s degree
already. You do not enter “1st bachelor’s degree” if you have already received one from an institution of
higher education, even if it is for a different major.

Question #31: Work Study
 31. Are you interested in being considered for work-study?                       Yes   1   No   2   Don’t know   3

Why are they asking this information?
Federal Work Study allows for students to work on campus and for the college while earning funds to help
pay for education-related expenses, not unlike a regular job.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
Answering “Yes” or “No” to this question will indicate to the school(s) in which you are applying that you are
interested in the Federal Work Study program or not.

Additional considerations
Indicating your interest in Federal Work Study does not guarantee a job on campus for every school. If you
change your mind about Federal Work Study, you may decline it.

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Step Two - Student Financial Information
Question #32: Student Income Tax Return

Why are they asking this information?
You will need to answer this question based on whether or not you (the student) did, have not yet, or will not
file a tax return.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
You should answer this question based on your current tax filing status for the previous year. It is OK to
answer this question either way, although if you have not yet filed a tax return, and are imputing estimated
figures into the fields, you will need to come back to your FAFSA to update or confirm these figures after you
do file your tax return.

Additional considerations
A school will not distribute Federal financial aid based on estimated figures.

Questions #33-34: Income Tax Return Details
                                                                 34. For 2017, what is or will be your tax filing
   for 2017?                                                         status according to your tax return?
   IRS 1040 .........................................    .   1       Single ..............................                .   1

                                                                     Head of household. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   IRS 1040A or 1040EZ .............................     .   2
                                                                                                           ..........     .   2

   A foreign tax return. See Notes page 9. ..........    .   3
                                                                                                                   ...... .   3

   A tax return with Puerto Rico, another U.S. territory,            Qualifying widow(er). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    5

   or Freely Associated State. See Notes page 9. . . . . .   4
                                                                     Don’t know .........................                 .   6

Why are they asking this information?
This question is asked to help the Department of Education verify your tax filing status, as it appears on your
Federal tax return.

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How to answer this question / fill out this section
You will select one of the following options from the drop down menu:
  • Single (Unmarried/Divorced, but not remarried)
  • Head of Household (If you pay for more than half of the household expenses of your dependent(s), and
    have been unmarried for the last year)
  • Married - Filed Joint Return
  • Married - Filed Separate Return
  • Qualifying Widow(er)
  • Don’t Know (If you do not know, you can reference the first page of your Federal Tax Return, where it is
    listed under your address)

Question #35: Form 1040A or 1040EZ Eligibility

                                                                                                       Yes    1       No       2   Don’t know   3
   See Notes page 9.

Why are they asking this information?
This question aims to determine if the student’s parents are/were eligible to file a 1040A or 1040EZ by
examining the following factors:
  • Make less than $100,000
  • Do not itemize deductions
  • Do not receive income from a business or farm
  • Do not receive self-employment income or alimony
  • Are not required to file Schedule D for capital gains.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
You are to indicate “Yes” if it is determined that your parents could have filed one of these two forms, even if
they hadn’t. The general differences between the use of the 1040, the 1040A, and the 1040EZ has to do with
the amount of information within the tax return. The 1040A and 1040EZ help to make filing your tax return
simpler.

Question #36: Student & Spousal Adjusted Gross Income
36. What was your (and spouse’s) adjusted gross income for 2017? Adjusted gross income is on IRS Form 1040–line 37;
                                                                                                                      $
    1040A—line 21; or 1040EZ—line 4.                                                                                       ,             ,

Why are they asking this information?
Your Adjusted Gross Income is considered to be your true income after certain deductions.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
This figure can be found on either Line 37 (1040), Line 21 (1040A), or Line 4 (1040EZ) of your Federal tax
return. Students who are married, but file separate returns will need to combine their AGIs from their
individual return for this field.

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Question #37: Student & Spouse’s Income Tax

Why are they asking this information?
This question asks how much you (and your spouse) had paid in income taxes.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
Depending which form you used to file your tax return, here is where you can find where these figures are
located within the form:
   • IRS Form 1040: Subtract line 46 from line 56 and enter the total
   • IRS Form 1040A: Subtract line 36 from line 28 and enter the total
   • IRS Form 1040EZ: Use Line 10

Question #38: Student & Spouse’s Tax Exemptions

38. Enter your (and spouse’s) exemptions for 2017. Exemptions are on IRS Form 1040—line 6d or Form 1040A—line 6d.
   For Form 1040EZ, see Notes page 9.

Why are they asking this information?
This question asks about how many exemptions you (and your spouse) claimed on your tax return, if any.
These exemptions are the total amount of personal and dependent exemptions you can claim that will help
to reduce your overall income on which you’ll be taxed.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
Depending which form you used to file your tax return, here is where you can find where these figures are
located within the form:
   • IRS Form 1040 : Use Line 6d
   • IRS Form 1040A: Use Line 6d
   • IRS Form 1040EZ: If you didn’t check either box on line 5, enter 1 if you are single or 2 if you are married.

Question #39: Student Earnings
Questions 39 and 40 ask about earnings (wages, salaries, tips, etc.) in 2017. Answer the questions whether or not a tax re
may be on the W-2 forms or on the tax return selected in question 33: IRS Form 1040—lines 7 + 12 + 18 + Box 14 (Code A) of IRS Schedule K-1 (Form 1065);
1040A—line 7; or 1040EZ—line 1. If any individual earning item is negative, do not include that item in your calculation.

39. How much did you earn from working in 2017?                                                                             $
                                                                                                                                  ,         ,

Why are they asking this information?
This question asks you to determine your overall earnings and income for the year. This would include, but is
not limited to your wage earnings.

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How to answer this question / fill out this section
For either tax return, use the following to impute your earnings:
    • IRS Form 1040: Use Lines 7 + 12 + 18* + Box 14 of IRS Schedule K-1 (Form 1065)
    • IRS Form 1040A: Use Line 7
    • IRS Form 1040EZ: Use Line 1
If you did not file taxes, you will need to enter the figures in Boxes 1 + 8 on your W-2 statement.

Question #40: Spousal Earnings

 40. How much did your spouse earn from working in 2017?                                                                    $
                                                                                                                                ,       ,

Why are they asking this information?
This question asks for your spouse’s earnings as a means to capture their income information separately
from yours if you had filed a joint tax return. Alternately, if you and your spouse filed separate returns, you
will be reporting their earnings here, as well.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
Enter the amount of their earnings using these formulas based on the tax return you filed jointly, or as they
filed separately:
    • IRS Form 1040 - Use Lines: 7 + 12 + 18* + Box 14 (Code A) of IRS Schedule K-1 (Form 1065)
    • IRS Form 1040A - Use Line: 7
    • IRS Form 1040EZ - Use Line: 1

Question #41: Student & Spousal Total Balance of Cash
41. As of today, what is your (and spouse’s) total current balance of cash, savings, and checking accounts? Don’t include
                                                                                                                            $
                                                                                                                                ,       ,

Why are they asking this information?
This question asks for the most current amount of cash in your checking and savings accounts on the
day you file the FAFSA. If you’re married, it asks you to combine your current amount with your spouse’s
holdings in their checking and savings accounts and report it.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
Even though you are also reporting past tax return figures, the FAFSA gathers more current information, such
as the answer to this question, to gain insight into your current financial situation. Even if your total balance
of these sources is zero, you will still enter a zero.

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Questions #42-43: Student & Spouse’s Investments / Businesses
42. As of today, what is the net worth of your (and spouse’s) investments, including real estate? Don’t include the home you
    live in. See Notes page 9.                                                                                               $
                                                                                                                                 ,     ,
43. As of today, what is the net worth of your (and spouse’s) current businesses and/or investment farms? Don’t include a
    family farm or family business with 100 or fewer full-time or full-time equivalent employees. See Notes page 9.         $
                                                                                                                                 ,     ,

Why are they asking this information?
These questions hope to capture a snapshot value of your (and your spouse’s) assets to help determine your
financial award.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
  • In successive order, you will report the current total of your cash-in-hand, and totals of your checking
    and savings accounts.
  • Next, you will report the total value of your (and your spouse’s) total investments. To do this, you will
    add the current value of all investments, subtracting any debts currently owed on them.
  • Lastly, you will do the same for the current value of all of your (and your spouse’s) businesses and/or
    farms, subtracting any debts owed on them.
Note: For any of these values, if the final total number is negative, enter a “0.”

Question #44: Student Additional Financial Information

Why are they asking this information?
This question inquires about a student’s additional financial information and is broken into five categories.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
If a student receives income from any of these categories, they must check each applicable box.
    • Child support: Check this box if you (and if married, your spouse) paid child support to a dependent
      whom you do not have primary custody. This may be court order as a result of a divorce or separation.
    • Taxable earnings from need-based employment programs: Such as Federal Work-study and need-based
      employment portions of fellowships and assistantships.
    • College grant and scholarship aid reported to the IRS: Check the box if you received outside scholarship/

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grant sources. This is not a scholarship offer that a college will offer to you whether merit or need-
     based. You can find this figure on your tax return as a deduction as part of your Adjusted Gross Income.
   • Combat pay or special combat pay: Check the box if you can find this figure on your tax return as a
     deduction as part of your Adjusted Gross Income. Do not report untaxed combat pay, which would be
     reported on your W-2.
   • Cooperative education program earnings: Check the box if you’ve earned money from cooperative
     education programs (also known as co-ops) while working in a experiential learning environment
     outside of a classroom.

Additional considerations
If students are married and have a spouse, they should also report their spouse’s information (such as
taxable earnings from need-based employment programs and combat pay) along with their own.

Question #45: Student Untaxed Income
 45. Student’s 2015 Untaxed Income (Enter the combined amounts for you and your spouse.)
   a. Payments to tax-deferred pension and retirement savings plans (paid directly or withheld from earnings), including, but not limited to,    $
      amounts reported on the W-2 forms in Boxes 12a through 12d, codes D, E, F, G, H and S. Don’t include amounts reported in code DD               ,      ,
   b. IRA deductions and payments                                                                               Form 1040—line 28 + line 32      $
      or 1040A—line 17.                                                                                                                              ,      ,
   c. Child support received for any of your children. Don’t include foster care or adoption payments.                                           $
                                                                                                                                                     ,      ,
   d. Tax exempt interest income from IRS Form 1040—line 8b or 1040A—line 8b.
                                                                                                                                                 $
                                                                                                                                                     ,      ,
   e. Untaxed portions of IRA distributions from IRS Form 1040—lines (15a minus 15b) or 1040A—lines (11a minus 11b). Exclude rollovers.
                                                                                                                                                 $
      If negative, enter a zero here.
                                                                                                                                                     ,      ,
   f. Untaxed portions o f pensions f rom IRS Form 1040—lines ( 16a m inus 16b) or 1040A—lines (12a minus 12b). Exclude rollovers.
      If negative, enter a zero here.                                                                                                            $
                                                                                                                                                     ,      ,
   g. Housing, food and other living allowances paid to members of the military, clergy and others (including cash payments and cash value
                  Don’t include the value of on-base military housing or the value of a basic military allowance for housing.                    $
                                                                                                                                                     ,      ,
        Educational Work-Study allowances.                                                                                                       $
   i.                                                                                                                                                ,      ,
        untaxed portions of health savings accounts from IRS Form 1040—line 25. Don’t include
                                                                                                                                                 $
                                                                                                                                                     ,      ,
   j. M oney received, or paid on your behalf (e.g., bills), not reported elsewhere on this form. This includes money that you received from a
                                                                                                                                                 $
        See Notes page 9.                                                                                                                            ,      ,

Why are they asking this information?
This question inquires about a student’s untaxed income and is broken out into six different categories.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
If a student had untaxed income in any of the following categories during the past year, they must check
each of the appropriate boxes that apply to them:
    • Payments to a tax-deferred pension and retirement savings plans: Check this box if you (and your
      spouse) paid toward your tax deferred pension and/or retirement savings plan from your income.

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These figures can be found on your W-2 statement in Box 12a through 12d, items D, E, G, H, and S. Do
      not include item DD. Enter the sum of these items.
  •   Child support received: Check the box if you (or your spouse) received child support from a non-
      custodial parent. Then enter the amount received.
  •   Housing, food, and other living allowances paid to military, clergy, and others: Check this box if you
      (and your spouse) had received housing payments or benefits (including cash) as a member of the
      military, as a clergy member, or for any other career or reason. This does not include on-base housing
      for military. Then enter the amount received.
  •   Veterans non-education benefits: Check this box if you (and your spouse) received Disability (for
      veterans), Death Pension, or Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and/or VA Educational Work-
      Study allowances. Then enter the amount received. Do not include GI Bill or Post 9/11 GI Bill.
  •   Other untaxed income not reported such as workers’ compensation or disability benefits: Check this
      box if you have any other untaxed income which had not been reported previously, such as workers’
      compensation, disability benefits, etc. Then enter the amount received.
  •   Money received or paid on your behalf: Check this box if you’ve received money in any fashion to
      help pay for expenses (education included) that has not been reported any place else on the FAFSA.
      You will want to report any monies given to you by a parent or relative, or third party whose financial
      information was not listed on this application and is not part of any type of legal support agreement.
      If someone who is not a parent has a 529 Plan (a deferred savings for education plan) in place for you,
      and you are receiving this funding to help pay your educational expenses, you will need to report this
      amount. Enter the amount(s) received.

Additional considerations
In all of the above scenarios, if students are married and have a spouse, they should also report their
spouse’s information on the FAFSA alongside their own.

What is Untaxed Income?
Untaxed income can be identified as any income that has been earned by a student or parent which does not
appear on a Federal tax return.
Oftentimes, students may work jobs with minimal earnings (i.e. babysitting), and are not required to file
a tax return. This is seen as untaxed because these earnings are not being reported to the IRS and are not
having Federal or state taxes deducted from them. Even if not reported to the IRS via a tax return, these
untaxed earnings still must be reported on the FAFSA.

Examples of Untaxed Income
Other than the example above, other types of untaxed income which students and/or parents may receive
in a given year are: Housing, food and other living allowances paid to members of the military, clergy
and others, including cash payments and cash value of benefits, child support received, veterans’ non-
educational benefits, and any money received or paid on student’s behalf (not by a parent).

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Step Three - Student Status
(Determines Whether You Will Need Parental Information)

Question #46: Age Before Jan 1, 1996
                          1996

Why are they asking this information?
This question asks if you were born before before January 1, 1996 to determine if you would be considered
an Independent student.

You are considered an independent student if you meet any of the following criteria:
   • at least 24 years old
   • Married
   • a graduate or professional student
   • a veteran
   • a member of the armed forces
   • an orphan
   • a ward of the court
   • someone with legal dependents other than a spouse
   • an emancipated minor, or
   • someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless
You are considered a dependent student if you meet none of these criteria.
This may seem redundant, since the FAFSA already asks for your birthday, but this question belongs in a
series of the next few questions which address each criteria listed above.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
To answer, this question, you will select “Yes” if you were born prior to January 1, 1996, and “No” if you were
not.

Question #47: Current Marital Status

Why are they asking this information?
This question asks what your current marital status is the day of filing the FAFSA as a way to determine if any
future, relevant questions within the application may be necessary to answer. Keep in mind that if you are
married, all figures you are to report must include your spouse’s financial information. If you happen to get
married after filing the FAFSA, you will want to let your financial aid office know.

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How to answer this question / fill out this section
To answer, this question, you will select your marital status from the drop down menu at the time of
completing the FAFSA as “I am single,” “I am married/remarried,” “I am separated,” or “I am divorced or
widowed.”

Question #48: Graduate Program Status

                    2019-2020

Why are they asking this information?
This question aims to determine your status as a student, which has already been answered in question 29.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
The answer will be pre-filled with a No if you have never attended college or if you are currently enrolled in
an undergraduate program. The answer to this question will be pre-filled with a Yes if you reported that you
are or will be a current graduate/professional student.

Question #49-50: Military Status

Why are they asking this information?
These questions will help either the Department of Education or your intended school determine if you (or
through your parents) qualify for certain types of military aid. Some of these include:
   • Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine ROTC (Reserve Officer’s Training Corps)
   • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Education Benefits
   • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
   • Additional Pell Grant funding
   • Student loan repayment benefits such as deferment and limited interest rates

How to answer this question / fill out this section
Answer Yes to this question if you are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves
on active duty for other than training purposes.

Answer No if you are currently not on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, or if you are a National Guard or
Reserves enlistee in active duty for training purposes only.

Additional considerations
These types of benefits are separate from the GI Bill and the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which are education-funding
benefits that do not require a FAFSA to be filed in order to receive. If you or your parent is a veteran and you
are interested in using the GI Bill to help fund your education costs, please contact your Veterans Affairs
Office for further information.
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Questions #51-52: Legal Dependents

Why are they asking this information?
These questions are asked to determine if you have children and/or a dependent(s) for whom you are
providing financial support.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
  • If you have children, or are expecting children in the year for which you are applying for aid, you will
    answer “Yes.”
  • If you also, or only have a dependent (someone who may not be your own child, or possibly even a
    parent), AND you also provide more than 50% of their living expenses, then you will select “Yes.”
  • You will select “No” if you have a dependent, but do not financially support more than 50% of their
    living expenses.

Question #53: Ward of State

Why are they asking this information?
If you are a Ward of the Court, you are considered to be under the protective custody of the local State
government. Wards of the Court may be assigned a legal guardian, but not necessarily someone of theirs or
their parent(s)’ choosing.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
Wards of the Court are considered to be “independent” students and as such, are not expected to provide
any parental (or legal guardian) financial information on the FAFSA. You will be prompted to move along in
the application.

Question #54: Emancipated Minor

Why are they asking this information?
This question is asked to determine if you are considered a dependent or an emancipated minor. An
emancipated minor is a student who has been legally removed from his biological parents’ custody through
a court order, gets married, or enters military service.

Emancipated minors are not necessarily considered to be independent students, if they do not meet the

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criteria listed previously in question 46. They are expected to provide parents’ financial information in the
FAFSA regardless of the circumstance. However, in some cases, you may be able to work with your financial
aid office to override your dependency status.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
You will select “Yes” if you are an emancipated minor and “No” if you do not meet the above criteria.

Question #55: Legal Guardianship

Why are they asking this information?
This question about Legal Guardianship will help to determine if you are to be considered a dependent or
independent student for Federal financial aid, specifically.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
If you have a legal guardian who is not a biological parent and deemed as such by a court, then you will be
considered “independent.” This means that you do not have to provide any biological parent (or guardian)
information in your FAFSA, and may move along. Otherwise, even if you are over the age of 18, you are still
considered a “dependent” student for Federal financial aid purposes. This will remain the case even if your
relationship with your parent(s) is not intact.

Additional considerations
You may want to contact your school’s financial aid office if your circumstance warrants such a condition
that you may need to remove yourself from your parent’s custody.

Questions #56-58: Homeless

Why are they asking this information?
These questions aim to determine if you are considered homeless at the time of application, which will help
to determine your dependency status.

How to answer this question / fill out this section

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There are several options to choose in this section. You will select “Yes” if one of the following is true based
on the criteria below:
  • Homeless means lacking fixed, regular and adequate housing, which includes living in shelters,
    motels, cars, or parks, or temporarily living with other people because you had nowhere else to go. This
    includes situations such as fleeing an abusive parent who would otherwise provide you with financial
    support and a place to live.
  • Unaccompanied means you are not living in the physical custody of your parent or guardian.
  • Youth means you are 21 years of age or younger, or you are still enrolled in high school as of the you
    sign the FAFSA application.

Step Four - Parent Information
Questions #59-60: Parents’ Marital Status
59. As of today, what is the marital status of your legal parents?                                                                      60. Month and year             MONTH    YEAR
   Never married. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2   Married or remarried. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .           1       they were married,
                                                                      Divorced or separated..............                       .   3
                                                                                                                                            rema rried , s eparated,
   Unmarried and both parents living                                                                                                        divorced or widowed.
   together. ...........................                      .   5   Widowed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4

Why are they asking this information?
This question asks about your biological parents’ marital status in order to determine whose information is
to be reported in future questions in the application.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
   • If you have a legal guardian, you are not obligated to report their financial information in “Parent”
     section, but you will want to report any financial support provided to you in the “Student Untaxed
     Income” section of the FAFSA.
   • As a point of clarification, if one of your biological parents is divorced from the other, you will only need
     to report the financial information of the parent who has legal custody of you.

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Questions #61-69: Parents’ Social Security Information
What are the S ocial Security Numbers, names a nd dates o f birth of the parents reporting information on this form?
                                                                                                                                  or III, include a space between the last name and

Questions 61-64 are for Parent 1 (father/mother/stepparent)
   61. SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER                                 62. LAST NAME, AND                                             63. FIRST INITIAL 64. DATE OF BIRTH

                  –             –                                                                                             ,                                     1 9
Questions 65-68 are for Parent 2 (father/mother/stepparent)
   65. SOCIAL SECURITYNUMBER                                  66. LAST NAME, AND                                             67. FIRST INITIAL 68. DATE OF BIRTH

                  –             –                                                                                             ,
                                                                                                                                                                    1 9

69. Your Parents’ e-mail address. If you provide your parents’ e-mail address, we will let them know your FAFSA has been processed. This e-mail address will also be shared with
your state and the colleges listed on your FAFSA to allow them to electronically communicate with your parents.

Why are they asking this information?
For this series of questions, the FAFSA asks you to report your parent’s Social Security Number(s), exact
date(s) of birth, first initial(s), and full last name(s) for further verification and accuracy.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
You will notice that you have two options: “Parent 1” and “Parent 2.” You may choose whichever of your
parents for either field, but please be sure to enter the correct information into each of these separate fields
(if applicable) as it appears on their Social Security card(s) and birth certificate(s). Do not mix “Parent 1”
figures with “Parent 2” as this may cause an error in your application.

Questions #70-74: Parents’ Residency Status & Household Occupants Attending College
70. What is your                STATE     71. Did your parents become              Yes   1    72. If the answer to question 71 is “No,” give the MONTH                  YEAR
    parents’ state of                         legal residents of this state                        month and year legal residency began for the
    legal residence?                          before January 1, 2012?              No    2
                                                                                                   parent who has lived in the state the longest.

73. How many people are in your parents’ household?
    Include:
     • yourself, even i f you don’t live with your parents,
     • your parents,
     • your parents’ other children (even if they do not live with your paren ts) if (a) your parents will provide more than half of their support
         between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, or (b) the children could answer “No” to every question in Step Three on page 5 of this form, and
     • other people if they now live with your parent s, your parents provide more than half of their suppor t and your parents will continue to
         provide more than half of their suppor t between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.

74. How many people in your parents’ household (from question 73) will be college students between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018?
    Always count yourself as a college student. Do not include your parent s. Do not include siblings who are in U.S. military service academies. You

Why are they asking this information?
Questions in this group inquire about who specifically resides in your household/home.

In this section, you will also be asked to clarify which of the people who reside in your household / home are
or will currently attend either college or a degree-seeking program in the upcoming academic year.

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How to answer this question / fill out this section
You will want to list the number of people living in your household/home, beginning with yourself, then your
parent(s), and any other siblings or relatives for whom your parent(s) pay 50% or more of their financial
support. The persons listed on your parents’ Federal tax return as dependents will give you an idea of who
can be considered as counted in your household/home.

When asked to list the people in your household/home who are or are planning to attend college or seek a
degree in the upcoming academic year, begin by counting yourself, but also include any siblings who will
attend and be enrolled as part-time students. You do not want to include your parents in this section, even if
they are in college or a degree-seeking program. Adults who have already earned a degree, are in graduate
or professional programs, or who are over the age of 24 will not be counted as simultaneously being in
college during the same period as you. (This applies even if your parents are helping to pay their educational
costs).

Questions #75-78: Parental Federal Benefit Status
 At any time during 2017 or 2018, did you, your parents or anyone in your parents’ household (from question 73) receive benefits from any of the federal programs listed?
 Mark all that apply. Answering these questions will NOT reduce eligibility for student aid or these programs. TANF has different names in many states. Call 1-800-433-3243 to find
 out the name of your state’s program. If you, your parents, or anyone in your household receives any of these benefits after filing the FAFSA but before December 31, 2018, you must
 update your response by logging in to fafsa.gov and selecting “Make FAFSA Corrections.”

 75. Medicaid or                76. Supplemental                   77. Free or Reduced                   78. Temporary                         79. Special Supplemental
 Supplemental                   Nutrition Assistance               Price School                          Assistance for Needy                  Nutrition Program for Women,
 Security Income (SSI)          Program (SNAP)                     Lunch                                 Families (TANF)                       Infants, and Children (WIC)

Why are they asking this information?
This series of questions aims to determine if your parent(s) received any form of supplemental government
(federal or state) assistance for living expenses, which may qualify you for Federal financial aid.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
Check the appropriate boxes if your parent(s) have benefited from any of the following programs:
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Free or Reduced Price Lunch
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

Check “None of the above” if none of these benefits were received.

Additional considerations
Please note, the names of these programs may differ from state to state. These names shown here are the
most commonly used.

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Question #79: WIC Benefits

Why are they asking this information?
This question refers to whether or not you had received financial support through the WIC (The Special
Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children). This program provides Federal grants
to States for food, health care, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant women, and to infants and
children under age five who are found to be at-risk.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
If you had received either federal or state government assistance for these conditions, you will check the
associated box.

Question #80: Parents’ Income Tax Return
 80. For 2017, have your parents completed their
 IRS income tax return or another tax return listed in
 question 81?

 My parents have already completed their return.         1

 My parents will file but have not yet completed
                                                         2
 their return
 My parents are not going to file,
                                                         3
 Skip to question 88

Why are they asking this information?
The FAFSA asks all dependent students to provide their parent/parents’ income tax return information as a
means to assess your family’s financial ability to pay for college.

How to answer this question/fill out this section
This specific question asks your parent/parents what their tax filing status is for the tax year 2017. (Note: for
the 2019-2020 FAFSA, parents will be submitting their 2017 Federal tax return status). You may select from
the drop menu whether your parent/parents: “Already Completed,” “Will File,” or “Not Going to File.” There
is no wrong answer, but it is important to be as accurate as possible. However, if you select “Will File,” your
parent/parents are expected to update all appropriate FAFSA fields when they have filed their Federal tax
return. If they select “Not Going to File,” the college may follow-up to find out why they didn’t, particularly if
your are eligible for Federal financial aid. If your parents are not married, separated, divorced, or widowed,
you are only required to report one parent’s financial information on the FAFSA.

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Questions #81-82: Parents’ Income Tax Return Information
81. What income tax return d id your parents                               82. For 2017, what is or will be your parents’ tax
    or will they file for 2017?                                                filing status according to their tax return?

   IRS 1040 ..................................                     .   1     Single .............................               .   1

   IRS 1040A or 1040EZ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
                                                                             Head of household. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4

                                                                                                                  .........     .   2
   A foreign tax return. See Notes page 9. ... .                       3
                                                                                                                          ..... .   3
   A tax return with Puerto Rico, another U.S.
   territory or Freely Associated State.                                     Qualifying widow(er). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    5

   See Notes page 9. .......................   .                       4
                                                                             Don’t know ........................                .   6

Why are they asking this information?
This question seeks to determine which type of tax return your parent(s) filed for accuracy.

How to answer this question / fill out this section
You must select the income tax return that your parents filed or will file from the drop down menu:
  • IRS 1040
  • IRS 1040A or 1040EZ
  • A foreign tax return
  • A tax return for a U.S. territory or a Freely Associated State (including Puerto Rico, Guam, American
    Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau tax
    returns)
You will not have reached this question if you had answered “Not going to file” for question 80.

Question #83: Parents’ Eligibility for 1040A or 1040EZ
                                                                                           Yes          1

                                                                                            No          2
    See Notes page 9 .
                                                                               Don’t know               3

Why are they asking this information?
Similar to the answer to FAFSA Question 35, this question is asked to determine if your parents are/were
eligible to file a 1040A or 1040EZ by examining the following factors:
   • Make less than $100,000
   • Do not itemize deductions
   • Do not receive income from a business or farm
   • Do not receive self-employment income or alimony
   • Are not required to file Schedule D for capital gains

How to answer this question / fill out this section
You will select “Yes” if it is determined that your parents could have filed either the 1040A or 1040EZ, even
if they hadn’t, based on the above criteria. The general differences between the use of the 1040, the 1040A,
and the 1040EZ has to do with the amount of information within the tax return. The 1040A and 1040EZ help
to simplify filing your tax return.
You will select “No” if it is determined that they were not eligible to file either of these forms.

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