Taking a little time to understand how to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) will assist and help greatly. Besides completing a college application; completing the FAFSA application is possibly one of the most significant tasks that a student can accomplish when transitioning from high school to college. High school to college programs and how to fill out the FAFSA form are surrounded by a host of valuable and readily accessible information. Staff at a high school are not experts in completing the FAFSA and are often times NOT financial aid or certified financial advisors. The information below will assist you in getting started with the FAFSA application.
Complete FAFSA for scholarships
Many colleges are “requiring” that students complete a FAFSA application to receive academic scholarships from their institution “REGARDLESS” of income level. Many parents think that “we make too much money” and “my kid gets good grades and they will just receive an academic scholarship” to attend college. Yes, all of that may be very true, but so is that fact that your child may NOT be considered for any academic scholarships unless the FAFSA application is completed.
Start the process now
FAFSA applications for going to college for fall of 2018 start October 1st of the preceding year (eg. October 1, 2017) and are processed and awarded on a “first come, first served basis.” In short, start the process NOW so that at 12:00 AM on October 1st you are ready to submit your application.
- Make sure you are at the correct website to complete the FAFSA application: https://fafsa.gov/
- Do NOT wait to begin completing the FAFSA application; start by getting a “FSA ID” NOW
- Do NOT mix up parent/student social security numbers or FSA ID’s – Big DELAYS don’t do it
- Use the previous year’s taxes and update after receiving the current year’s taxes
- Parent guardian information is required in nearly all circumstances
- Applications without parent’s information are only eligible for loans (research exceptions)
- BE VERY CAREFUL to apply for the correct year (current year may still be open)
Valuable links and resources
- General FAFSA information can be found here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/
- FAFSA Blog for general information here: https://blog.ed.gov/topic/federal-student-aid/
- Specific information here: https://financialaidtoolkit.ed.gov/tk/search#YourSearchResults
- Online live webinars and Q/A sessions here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/events
- Complete your FSA ID and your actual application here: https://fafsa.gov/
Completing the FAFSA is another powerful step at realizing the goal of attending and graduating college. Nevada State High School is an early college high school that nudges students along in completing the FAFSA form by making it a requirement in a student’s annual portfolio. Similarly, all students attending any high school to college program and how to fill out the FAFSA form can make it a little bit easier by following the information mentioned above.