Tips on Completing the FAFSA

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Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Education

Filling out the FAFSA early allows you to get more money.

It is college application season, meaning seniors in the class of 2020 will have to complete their FAFSA applications. 

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid and is a form for current and potential college students to receive grants, loans, and work-study money.

The 2020- 2021 FAFSA opened on October 1st and the quicker you get it done, the better your chance of getting the most financial aid possible. Even if you think you will not get any money, still do an application because colleges like to see your FAFSA to give you merit-based scholarships.

There are three deadlines to pay attention to: the college’s deadline (on the school’s website), your home state deadline (for Florida it is May 15th) and the federal deadline which is June 30, 2020.

There is no income cut-off to qualify for federal student aid so apply even if you do not think you will get any money.

To apply, go to https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa. This will lead you to the website that will allow you to apply.

The information that you need to provide includes tax information, certain assets, certain untaxed incomes, and the size of your household.

If you are unable to provide parent information due to special circumstances, you can still apply. If you have to leave out your parent’s information because you have no other option, it is okay. You just might not get a pell grant or subsidized loans.

When applying, you and your parents have to create an FSA ID. This will allow FAFSA to verify your identity and allow you to electronically sign your documents. If your parent does not have a social security number, they will not be able to create an FSA ID and will not be able to sign the FAFSA form electronically. What you will have to do is print the signature page and then mail it to the address indicated on the page.

Some other tips include:

  1. If you are a male between the ages of 18 to 26, you must register with selective service. If you do not, you will be ineligible for federal student aid.
  2. You must count yourself as a member of the household attending college during the award year.
  3. You must list your legal name as it appears on your social security card. Do not use nicknames or abbreviations.

The quicker you get the FAFSA done, the more money you are likely to get.

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