FAFSA -- the Free Application for Federal Student Aid -- must be completed (on or after January 1) for the consideration of a financial aid award (both need-based and merit) from almost every college, including those schools requiring the submission of the CSS Profile.
WHO MUST FILE FAFSA:
1. Those who will be first time students (Freshmen) in fall, 2013;
2. Those who will be returning students (Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors, Graduate) in fall, 2013;
3. Students who want to be considered for scholarships (need-based and merit), grants, Work-Study and federal Direct (Stafford) loans;
4. Students who have been awarded or will seek a scholarship, grant, or federal Direct loan from or through any college for the 2013-14 school year.
In short, if you plan on being in college during the 2013-14 school year, and you want to receive financial aid, in whatever form, you MUST submit FAFSA! [The FAFSA must be submitted EVERY year.]
WHEN MAY I COMPLETE AND SUBMIT FAFSA:
On or after January 1, 2013.
Keep in mind that every state has a FAFSA filing deadline (the federal FAFSA filing deadline is June 30), AND most colleges have their own deadlines for submission. Also, many colleges make financial aid awards on a first come, first awarded basis. Submit your FAFSA early during the filing period if you want to maximize your financial aid award.
WHAT CAN I DO NOW:
1. Prepare documentation. You will need the following in order to complete the FAFSA:
- Student's driver's license and Social Security card
- Income tax returns or as close an estimate as possible
- W-2 forms and other records of money earned
- Current bank statements
- Records and documentation of other untaxed income received such as welfare benefits, Social Security income, veteran's benefits, AFDC, or military or clergy allowances
- Records of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investments
- Current mortgage information
- Business or farm records (if applicable)
3. Get a Federal Student Aid PIN. All students applying for federal aid MUST obtain a Federal Student Aid PIN. Parents of dependent students must also secure a PIN. YOU CANNOT COMPLETE OR SUBMIT FAFSA WITHOUT A PIN! Apply for your PIN (or duplicate PIN, if you are a returning student who has lost the PIN) HERE.
4. Go to the videotape. Get an overview of the FAFSA process by watching a brief yet informative online video.
5. Speak with your financial advisor, college planner and/or Guidance Counselor. Don't go it alone. The FAFSA is the most important financial aid form you will complete. Don't just submit it. Submit it completely and correctly!
Remember, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take! Don't miss out on getting money for college. Complete and submit FAFSA as soon as possible on or after January 1.
Plan. Prepare. Prevail!
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of The College Whisperer™.
Who knows what peril lurks in the college application and admissions process? The College Whisperer™ knows. . .
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