It is that time of year again for college students that are seeking financial assistance…time to fill out your FAFSA.
For those of you who do not know what the FAFSA is, it is a Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
FAFSA is part of the U.S. Department of education and is one of the largest providers of financial aid for college students in the nation. Annually, FAFSA provides nearly $150 billion to students who are seeking a higher education through federal grants, loans, and work-studies.
First time FAFSA users may be overwhelmed when they start their application. This is normal. Even seasoned FAFSA users have trouble from time-to-time. Here are some tips to get you started:
1) Determine if you are eligible for aid. There are certain criteria a potential student must meet in order to receive aid.
*Be a citizen or eligible noncitizen of the U.S.
*Have a valid Social Security Number
*Have a high school diploma or GED
*Be enrolled in an eligible program
*Maintain satisfactory progress while in school
*Must not owe a refund on a federal student grant or be in default on a federal student loan.
*Register with Selective Service, if you are male and not on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.
*Not have a conviction or offense while receiving aid
2) Gather the necessary materials that you will need before you get started. You will need:
*Your Social Security number
*Your Alien Registration Number if you are not a U.S. citizen
*Your federal tax returns, W-2s, and any other form of earned income
*Current bank statements and investment records
*Any records of untaxed income if applicable
*A federal student PIN (click here to obtain one)
Once you have determined if you are eligible for aid, and have obtained the documents that you will need, you can start the application. It is free, and will give you step-by-step instructions on how to complete it. Click here to access the application.
Do not forget…there are deadlines that have to be met in order to be considered for financial aid. You can complete a FAFSA anytime between January 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. Any corrections or updates are required to be submitted by September 19, 2015. Some funding for aid can run out quickly, so it is recommended that you complete the application as close to January 1 as possible.
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