Shocking but true: 2016 is nearly here. That means many people will be filling out the FAFSA for the first time in just a few weeks. The FAFSA itself will be available on January 1. If you would like to prepare before filling it out, the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet is available now. Although the worksheet does not include all of the information requested by the FAFSA, it does detail the key information you’ll need as well as what documents you should have on-hand to complete it. Perusing the worksheet now will help you get everything ready to complete the actual FAFSA when the time comes to do so, making that process considerably smoother.

Remember, you don’t need to file your 2015 taxes before completing the FAFSA, but it will be helpful to have your 2015 W-2s. You can use last year’s tax return to estimate for the FAFSA and then use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update your FAFSA after you file taxes.