Tips For Filling Out Your FAFSA
It’s the beginning of a New Year! That means new resolutions, new diets to shed those pesky holiday pounds, and for new or current students it means it’s time to fill out your FAFSA form! The new 2012-2013 FAFSA application is now available.
What exactly is the FAFSA? It stands for Free Application for Financial Student Aid, and is a form provided by the U.S. Department of Education that helps determine if a potential or current college student is eligible for government financial aid. When you fill out your FAFSA you are not just applying for one grant or loan though, there are many state and federal financial programs that are offered.
You can fill out the form online on the FAFSA website, or fill out a paper form and mail it to the FAFSA office. The form can be a bit daunting and confusing ,so we’ve compiled a few tips to help you get started:
Make sure your paperwork is in order
Whoever is filling out the FAFSA, whether it is you or someone filling it out for you, you must have the appropriate paperwork. These are current financial records, last year’s tax forms, and other documents as listed here on their website.
Check your work!
Like they always stress in school when you’re working on a paper or other important form, make sure you check to make sure you have filled out all of the information on the form completely and accurately. One mistake or omission could mean thousands of dollars less than what you would have been awarded had you filled everything out correctly! If you submitted the form online you are able to fix or change information here, but the change will take a few days for the government to process. If you mail the form in it’s a good idea to make photocopies of it or to scan it so you know exactly what you wrote in.
File the form ASAP
There are deadlines for the FAFSA form, so make sure you pay attention! But the best way to make sure your form will be received and processed in time is to fill out and submit the form as soon as possible.
FAFSA is free
The first ‘F’ in FAFSA stands for ‘Free’- which means that you should not be paying anything to file or fill it out. There are professional services and people you can choose to pay who can complete the form for you, but for no cost you can contact the Financial Aid Counselor at your school of choice for help, search the internet for tips, or directly contact the FAFSA staff. You can live chat, call, or e-mail FAFSA with questions or for help with your form, the FAFSA contact information can be found here.