Office of Student Financial Aid

FAFSA Tips For Parents And Families

Student standing with her parents in front of University Hall's clock towerSubmitting a FAFSA — a Free Application for Federal Student Aid — is the first step in applying for federal financial aid (federal or state grants, loans or work study) to help pay for college.

When you submit the FAFSA, the U.S. Department of Education provides you with:

  • An estimated family contribution (EFC) – the amount they feel your family can pay toward your student's college education
  • How much federal aid you may qualify for

We strongly encourage students to fill out their own FAFSAs. But if your student is a dependent, you will have to fill out the parent section of the application with your financial information.

  • For FAFSA purposes, parent is defined as the student's legal (biological and/or adoptive) parent or stepparent. Grandparents or siblings are NOT considered parents, even if they raised a student.
  • Even if you think your income is too high and that you won't qualify for aid, fill out the FAFSA. Don't leave any money on the table. Some scholarships require the FAFSA.

Step-by-Step FAFSA guide

The Parent Section of FAFSA: What you need to know

Is my student a dependent?

If your student is a dependent, you'll need to provide your financial information on the FAFSA.

Review the questions on the Federal Student Aid website to determine whether your child is considered a dependent or independent. Definitions are different for the FAFSA than they are in other areas, such as on tax returns.

How to Obtain a Parent FSA (Federal Student Aid) ID

  • You'll need this ID if your student is a dependent and you must provide your financial information on the FAFSA.
  • You'll use this ID to electronically sign the FAFSA.
  • If you have multiple children attending college, you can use the same FSA ID to sign all applications.
  • Don't lose it! Save it somewhere safe. You will use the same ID each year when you submit your FAFSA.

Create a FAFSA ID

Documents You'll need

  • Social security number(s)
  • Federal income tax returns, W-2s and records of other income (Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)
  • Records of untaxed income, such as child support received and interest income
  • Bank and investment statements
  • Parent FSA ID

I'm divorced. Who fills out the parent portion of the FAFSA?

  • If your student lived with you the majority of the time in the past year, you would fill out the FAFSA.
  • If you had equal custody, whoever provided more financial support over the past year would complete the app.

Other things to consider:

  • If you are going to fill out the FAFSA and have remarried, your spouse (your student's stepparent) also will need to provide financial information.
  • You may want to estimate your student's aid using the FAFSA4caster. You can plug in financial information for each parent and stepparent and see how much potential aid your student qualifies for.

More details on how to report parent info

Do I have to finish the FAFSA in one sitting?

No. You can save your work and return to it later as long as you have your FSA ID.

You and your student also can work on the FAFSA even if you aren't together:

  • Your student can provide you with their FSA ID (which differs from yours) so that you can complete your portion.
  • Your student can start the app and then create a Save Key. After they close out of the app, they pass along the Save Key to you so that you can complete your part.

FAFSA Timeline

December: FAFSA opens for next award year
Feb. 15: UToledo’s priority FAFSA filing date for new students
Feb. 15: UToledo’s priority FAFSA filing date for continuing students
March through July: Summer Financial Aid application available

UToledo Federal School Code:


You must include this on your FAFSA so we get your info.

Have Questions?

Ask Rocket Solution Central.

Rocket Solution Central — or RSC — is your one-stop answer shop for financial aid questions.

Call 419.530.8700
Monday - Wednesday and Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Thursday 10 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Visit 1200 Rocket Hall
Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

No need to wait in line. Register through Rocket Q ahead of time or when you arrive. You'll receive wait-time updates and be notified when it's your turn.

Register by texting "University of Toledo" to 419.419.3430 or by entering your information online.

Financial Wellness

We could all use some help managing our money ― whether you’re a high school student, undergraduate or upperclassman ready to graduate.

UToledo's financial wellness team offers workshops, presentations and tools to help you improve your money management skills. You can even schedule an appointment with our counselor to discuss your personal financial plan.

  • How to pay for college
  • Managing student loans
  • Making a budget
  • And more
Financial Wellness Services
Last Updated: 10/16/23