Now that most students have turned in their college applications, attention is now focused on financial aid and the dreaded Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA application! For some the FAFSA can be daunting, but if you take a little time to prepare, filling out the information can be easier than you think.
1. Why is it import to fill out the FAFSA? Some parents will not even think about filling out the FAFSA because they are convinced they will not qualify for any form of need-based aid. However, the FAFSA is not only used to determine grants, loans and work-study, some schools also use the information to determine a student’s eligibility for merit-based aid. You have to check with the financial aid departments at the schools you applied to in order to determine if the FAFSA is a requirement for merit-based aid.
2. Collect the necessary information. Before you start, visit the FAFSA website and get a list of all of the documents you will need to complete the application. You can also print a worksheet that will show you how the FAFSA is organized. Go over the worksheet and the list of documents with your parents before you begin.
3. Time considerations. The most efficient way to complete the FAFSA is on-line. You can register for a PIN that will keep your information secure. You can also fill out part of the application and go back to complete the application at a later date (the data will be held for 45 days or after the federal/correction application deadline).
Remember that financial aid is an important piece of the college application process. I know that most students are slightly burned out when it comes to filling out forms, but don’t let this one slip through the cracks!