January is the month that college-bound seniors and their parents can consider filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA) (FAFSA). As the name implies, the FAFSA is a completely free application that anyone can fill out. Students cannot be considered for federal need-based financial assistance (including grants, loans, and internship programmes) until they complete the FAFSA, so everyone should do so, even if they are unaware of their eligibility. I suggest filing the FAFSA electronically by going to the Federal Student Aid website (link at bottom of article). The online process is the fastest and most streamlined of the available filing options. view here
To file an FAFSA, both the parent(s) and the student must first obtain a “PIN” number, which can be obtained at the Federal Student Aid website linked in this post. Both parents and students must submit their own pin code, which can be used to apply for federal student aid electronically each year and to access the Federal Student Aid records online in the future. After both the parent and the student have received a PIN, you will begin filling out the FAFSA, which must be completed by February 15th to meet priority filing deadlines.
The FAFSA is filed in the student’s name and with their social security number, and it asks for details on their income and assets, demographics, and the colleges they choose to attend. In addition, parents would be required to disclose details about their income and assets. There is a document check list on the FAFSA site provided above to help you better plan for completing the FAFSA. Final pay stubs, completed tax returns, bank statements, and any other records relating to income sources during the previous calendar year are all valuable documents to have on hand.
Many families will be unable to complete their tax returns before the deadline of February 15th. Not to worry, a family should estimate their income on the FAFSA form to reach the deadline (use your final pay stub as a resource). You will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) after submitting the FAFSA, which is basically a clarification and review of what you reported on the FAFSA. You may also use the SAR to make some changes to the details you originally got (such as after you complete your taxes you can note any changes on the SAR and resubmit for processing).
The trick is to apply for financial assistance, with the FAFSA being the first move. The FAFSA is a common form that analyses a family’s income and assets to assess their ability to pay for college using a formula. A college cannot review a student for need-based federal financial aid funds without submitting an FAFSA, so it is recommended that everyone complete an FAFSA as the first step in the financial aid process.