FAFSA: Keep Calm and File On
With the first day of Fall behind us, the back-to-school hype has dwindled and students are settling into a new year of classes. For high school seniors and their parents, however, a new hype is upon them: the college application process. And while there are a number of important steps in this process, securing financial aid is one of great concern for many families.
Students can apply for federal student aid by filing the FAFSA. It’s important to note that often times, the FAFSA is required to qualify for loans, grants and scholarships – both merit and need based. Thus, it is important for all families to file the FAFSA, even if you don’t expect to receive financial aid.
The FAFSA application window opens October 1st and the final deadline for filing is June 30th of the following year. While each state and school is different, filing early is suggested as some programs provide aid on a first-come, first-served basis and others determine eligibility for financial aid earlier than federal deadlines. Information on federal and state deadlines can be found on the Federal Student Aid website. The nine-month application window allows students ample time to explore and understand their financial aid options and make thoughtful decisions in investing in their education.
When you’re ready to apply for aid, you’ll need to have the following information available:
- Your Social Security number
- Your Alien Registration number (if you aren’t a U.S. citizen)
- Your federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned. (Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA form using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)
- Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
- Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
- An FSA ID so you can electronically sign the FAFSA form
For a brief overview on how to fill out the FAFSA, check out these short videos. And as always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have specific questions about financing for higher education.