The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is the first step in securing college financial aid for your child. Most students are eligible for some form of financial aid. Thus, accurately completing the FAFSA is very important. Here are some tips to help you through the FAFSA filing process.
Most colleges and universities use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for student aid. So, you may gain access to funds by meeting early deadlines. The earlier deadline is also a benefit in case schools award aid on a first-come, first-served basis. The sooner you complete your form, the greater your chances of being eligible for more financial aid.
You don’t need to wait until next year’s tax returns are completed to file. You can now complete the FAFSA using tax details from the prior year. The online FAFSA also gives you the option to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically populate the FAFSA with income tax data.
The fastest way to complete the FAFSA is online. (A paper copy is also available for download.) Digital applications are processed faster since the FAFSA site is designed to spot common errors. You can also use the myStudentAid app for iOS and Android. Remember, if you’re not using Wi-Fi to complete the FAFSA, data charges may apply. Contact your service provider for details.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) offers a FAFSA Worksheet that helps you collect the necessary information and proofread your application before submitting. You can create an FSA ID for easy access to your online FAFSA. Additionally, a digital approach enables a save option, electronic signature and quick submission of your application.
Check your work
Carefully read all questions on the FAFSA and answer them completely. Don’t leave blank fields. Enter “0” or “not applicable” on questions that do not apply to you.
Make sure your application has the right federal school code for every school your child has applied to. Be sure to e-sign your form. Something this minor could mean a long delay before your application is approved and your financial aid package is completed. Again, you could be missing out on crucial aid if you’re not careful when completing the form.
For more help completing the application, check the FAFSA website. The DOE also provides answers to frequently asked questions and a secure online chat session with customer service representatives. You can also check with your local community college or financial institution. They may offer low- or no-cost assistance.
Article provided by Local Government Federal Credit Union.
The advice provided is for informational purposes only.