September 19, 2022
If you’re a student getting ready for college or an adult helping a student in your life get ready for college, you’ve probably heard about the FAFSA—the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Created by Congress in 1992, the FAFSA was intended, as the Washington Post, writes “to standardize the process of applying for the federal aid available.” High school seniors and returning college students will have the opportunity to apply for this financial aid to help them pay their college expenses for the coming academic year.
You may have heard there are some major changes coming to the FAFSA application. Those changes are coming, but most will not take effect for another year. Even with the upcoming changes, the process can be time-consuming and convoluted for even the most prepared families.
To help you get through FAFSA application process for the upcoming year, here are three quick tips:
1. Get Your Documents Together
The FAFSA is a bureaucratic form that tries to understand the unique circumstances facing each student applying for financial aid. The government wants to know who is making the application, what their family’s economic situation is, and what commitments they’ve made. To ensure families can answer all these questions, we encourage them to have their tax and identification forms prepared.
Make sure that you have your Social Security Number, federal tax information, records of untaxed income, bank and credit card information, and information on any investments your family has made on top of the list of schools you are applying for. It’s not guaranteed you’ll use all this information
2. Start Early
The FAFSA can be a nightmare for families trying to fill it out in the hours before the deadline closes on 11:59 PM CT on June 30, 2023. In past years, families have had to complete as many as 108 questions targeting complex issues on income and family history. This year, that number could vary significantly based on each family’s individual circumstances.
We encourage families to apply as soon as they can after the FAFSA opens October 1st each year. This can save parents and students alike from headaches. Moreover, if there is any missing information or difficulties completing the form, you can easily resolve those challenges before the deadline closes.
3. Apply Even If You Don’t Think You Qualify
Lastly, we recommend that everyone apply through FAFSA because there’s no penalty for doing so. Completing the form is free. There’s no limit to the number of colleges which you can submit forms to.
By applying, families make sure they are not losing out on any opportunities. Families can be rewarded with financial aid that they did not realize they qualified for.
These are just three tips for the FAFSA. For parents and students interested in learning more, we recommend you sign up for our upcoming webinar on the FAFSA scheduled for September 20th.
Otherwise, we encourage you to sign up for a consultation with a college planning advisor today to discuss your questions one-on-one. Sign up for a FREE consultation in your area here.
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