If you’re a student applying to college this year, time is running out! Go fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible. All applications for the academic year 2020–21 must be submitted before 11:59 pm CT on June 30, 2021.
Wondering why you need to fill out the FAFSA and why it is so important? Especially because at first glance, it looks intimidatingly long and complicated!
But rest assured that filing a FAFSA is easy when you’re well prepared.And it is most definitely worth your time and effort. Think of all the financial help you will receive for college.
What is the FAFSA?
FAFSA abbreviates Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Its main applicants are students (and their parents). This application is what helps students receive government financial aid for college.
Why is it important?
Colleges and the U.S. Department of Education, through FAFSA, evaluate your financial need to determine how much financial support you require while also considering your family contribution for the same.
The FAFSA is your portal to federal and state student financial aid like loans, grants and work-study positions (money you have to work for).
3 easy steps to apply for FAFSA
The FAFSA is critical, so you’ll need to know the right way to process the application. Don’t get overwhelmed, we’ll spell it out for you in three steps, just follow them for a stress-free application process
1. Set up your FSA ID
An FSA ID is your Federal Student Aid Identification. It’s all the usual details that you need to set up an account anywhere—a username and password to access the US Department of Education websites.
2. Your documents
Here are all the documents you will need on hand before sitting down to fill out the application:
- Social Security Number
- Parent’s Social Security numbers for dependent students
- Driver’s license number (if you have one)
- Alien Registration number for non-US citizens
- A two-year record of Federal tax information or tax returns.
- Records of any untaxed incomes like child support, alimony, interest income and veteran’s non-education benefits.
- Info on current assets like checking and savings accounts, stocks and bonds, real estate, etc.
If you are a dependent student you will need to gather information for both you and your parents. In case you are married, the information for you and your spouse is required. If you are single, you will only need your information for each item listed above.
3. Fill out the FAFSA application
What next? Fill out the application. Start with logging in to the www.fafsa.gov portal and click on ‘Start a New FAFSA’. Then follow these steps accordingly:
- Fill in your personal information like your name, SSN and other identifying details.
- List out colleges and schools of your choice to receive information from your FAFSA form.
- Determine whether you are a dependent or an independent student.
- If you’re a dependent student, you will report information on your parents (their SSN and other identification details)
- Fill in all your financial information.
- Then sign and submit your form.
Overall, filling out the FAFSA is a streamlined process. Just ensure to prep well beforehand, then you won’t have any issues filling out the application.
Collect all the appropriate documentation and have a list of schools ready. That list is important when you’re filling in your FAFSA application. Hurry! You’re racing against time here.