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Now is the time to think about financing your 2019-20 college year.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid program began accepting submissions for the 2019-20 academic year on Oct. 1.

By completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, you are applying for federal grants and loans.

A new FAFSA needs to be completed every year you attend college and want federal financial aid. The 2019-20 application uses information from your 2017 income tax return.

To complete your application, have the following information ready: your Social Security number, a copy of your 2017 income tax return, W-2s, any other money earned but not reported elsewhere (taxed and untaxed), bank statements and records of investments, and a Federal Student Aid ID. The FSA ID gives you access to the Federal Student Aid program’s online systems and can serve as your legal signature. You can use the IRS data retrieval tool in the FAFSA to input your income tax information.

If you are a dependent student, you also will need to provide the same information for one of your parents/guardians. You are considered dependent if you were born after Jan. 1, 1996; you are not married, not working on a graduate degree, not serving on active duty and not a veteran; do not have children or other dependents; your parents are alive; and you are not an emancipated minor. For more information about dependency, visit studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/dependency

To apply for your FSA ID, go to fsaid.ed.gov You will need your name, date of birth, Social Security number and contact information. Make sure to remember this ID because you will need to use it for all Federal Student Aid websites, not just for filling out the FAFSA.

You can complete the FAFSA by going to studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa or using the myStudentAid app for iOS and Android.

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Vanessa Hoines is an extension agent with NDSU Extension/Morton County. She holds a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer science education and food and nutrition and a master’s degree in child development and family science.

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