Happy New Year, friends! With a new year, comes a new application for financial aid. Whether this is your first year of college, or your fifth, filling out the FAFSA is an important new year ritual for any student seeking financial aid.
Not sure where to start? Here’s a step-by-step tutorial to make sure that you get maximum assistance.
- Gather all your financial documents together – including payroll stubs, bank account statements, savings funds and any investment statements.
- Gather all of your parents’ financial documents (same as above) – unless you are emancipated or over the age of 25, in which case only your – and your spouse, if you have one – documents are required
- File your taxes as soon as possible – while you can complete your FAFSA with estimated figures, the FAFSA website strongly encourages you to file with your actual returns
- Create a FAFSA account
- Complete your FAFSA online – the application can be submitted anytime after January 1
- Note that student-related items are in yellow; parent(s) are in purple.
- Don’t forget to sign your application by applying for a PIN
- Once you submit your FAFSA, you will get an initial estimate of your financial aid award. Assuming that this is your “best case scenario” begin to calculate how much more you may need to pay for the school of your choice
- Begin to apply for scholarships, if you haven’t already, to help cover the difference between federal and state financial aid and your ability to pay for school.
To learn more about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, check out the online FAFSA workshop from last spring.