Students should always file the FAFSA online. This is the fastest, most secure, and easiest way to apply for federal student aid. Paper applications are still available but will take significantly longer to process.
It is also recommended that students and their parent(s) take advantage of the IRS data retrieval tool offered as part of the FAFSA on the Web process. Transferring tax data directly from the IRS to your FAFSA will eliminate the need to verify your tax information later and reduce the amount of time required to file your application. IRS data retrieval is available as of Feb. 1 to all applicants.
To file your FAFSA using IRS data retrieval, follow these steps:
Prepare taxes early and file taxes electronically
Receive your confirmation from the IRS indicating your tax return has been accepted. Within 10 days of this confirmation, your data should be available to transfer to your FAFSA.
The St. Thomas priority filing date for the FAFSA is April 1. It is in the student's best interest to file the FAFSA before the priority filing date at each school they are considering. If your tax data is not ready to transfer before a priority filing date you should go ahead and file your FAFSA using the best information available. However, you should update your FAFSA using IRS data retrieval as soon as the information is available to transfer.
The U.S. Department of Education strongly encourages applicants to file electronically. Paper applications are no longer made available to schools, but students can download a paper FAFSA by selecting "FAFSA Filing Options" on the FAFSA homepage.