FAFSA: apply online at www.fafsa.ed.gov
The most important step of applying for financial aid is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To apply for any federal student aid, such as federal grants, loans, and work-study, you need to complete the FAFSA. The FAFSA collects information about you and your family and determines how much your family is expected to contribute to your education (EFC-Expected Family Contribution). The early part of January of your senior year is when to submit your FAFSA. Apply on or as close to January 1 as possible! Money is often available on a first-come, first served basis. You’ll usually receive EFC information in four to six weeks. Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free and easy, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school.
The first step is to register for your PIN which will allow you to complete the FAFSA process. It is a good idea to register for your PIN early, so that you are ready to complete the FAFSA form as soon as it becomes available. Go to www.pin.ed.gov to register. This is open to parents and students, and is a quick application with fast response.
We recommend you the FAFSA 4caster, which is an online tool that will help you understand your options for paying for college. Provide some basic information and you will get an estimate of your eligibility for federal student aid. Your estimate will be shown in the “College Cost Worksheet” where you can also provide estimated amounts of other student aid and savings that can go towards your college education.
FAFSA Help Guide Book
Keep in mind, you will need this information on hand when you fill out the FAFSA:
• Your Social Security
• Your driver’s license (if you have one)
• Your parent’s Social Security Number
• Your parent’s driver’s license
• Your 2012 W-2 Forms and any other record of money earned
• Your 2012 Federal Income Tax Return
• Your Parents’ 2012 Federal Income Tax return
• Your current bank statements
• Your Parent’s current bank statements
Visual overview of financial aid process: visual.ly/financial-aid-process
Information on every aspect of financial aid, and helpful tools: www.finaid.org
Discover the net price of college, beyond the “sticker price”: collegerealitycheck.com
Free tool helping students manage debt: www.saltmoney.org