Author: Javeshnev Azua
What is FAFSA, and how do I use it to get financial aid?
As for what is FAFSA, it stands for "Free Application for Federal Student Aid", which means it is absolutely FREE, and everyone is entitled to it. It is actually mandatory for most school applications so they can give you an itemized and detailed account of what the University offers you alongside your FAFSA, that is usually referred to as a "Financial Aid Letter".
For any of you that may be filling out the student FAFSA, do not allow yourselves to be fooled by other websites that claim they will fill it out for you and then charge you $$$$$ for it. If they are charging you for FAFSA then you are at the incorrect website. Follow the following rules, and you should be well on your way to a successful FAFSA application.
Rule # 1: The FAFSA is FREE to every student in the USA. You have to go to the correct website (www.fafsa.ed.gov)
Rule # 2: Either start a new FAFSA if it is your first (1st) time, or Login if you have done so before.
Rule # 3: Make sure you have your electronic pin requested and in front of you before you fill out the FAFSA, it makes things 100% easier and faster to sign.
To request your pin for the first time, or for any changes to it go to the following website:
Rule # 4: What do you need in order to fill out your FAFSA with the BEST outcome?
-Have your parents Income Tax Return form for the prior year (if your parents file you in their taxes as their dependent). EXCEPTIONS: If you are above the age of 27 or you have no parents and/or guardians then you fill out with your own Income Tax Return.
You CAN fill it out without an Income Tax Return form, but take it from experience that puts you at a disadvantage. By having the taxes already done, it is legitimately what you will receive from the government. The government will email you a few days later with a confirmation known as SARS, and they will then inform you through that link what your student aid benefits will be.
-You will need your Social Security #
-You will need your most recent bank statement
-If you have ever received benefits from the government (welfare, food stamps, disability checks, etc.) you will need those statements as well.
-DECIDE before you even begin the form, which Universities and Colleges you are interested in sending the FAFSA to.
-DECIDE before you begin if you plan to do WORK STUDY or not. Because you will be asked to fill that out as well.
Rule #5: Once you sign in, just follow the rules in the bubbles to the side of the webpage. Normally those bubbles are titled “Help and Hints”. It literally tells you question by question what they are asking you, and where you can find the information on the Income Tax Return form. That is one of the reasons why your Income Tax Return form is so vital to filling out the FAFSA.
Hope this helps any student that is filling out the FAFSA for the 1st time, or just needed a refresher.