Mark your calendars for October 1: FASFA season is just around the corner! Starting your financial aid journey isn’t the definition of exciting, but it does mean that you’re on your way to paying for your college degree. Here are some tips to start applying.
Collect all the documents
When you apply for FASFA, the Department of Education recommends you have the following on hand:
- FASFA ID
- Social Security number
- Driver’s license (if you have one)
- Previous year’s tax records
- Records of untaxed income
- Records of assets
- List of prospective schools
If your parent has the info for all of these documents, you may want them to sit with you as you fill out the FASFA application. Note: Parents and/or guardians aren’t allowed to fill out the form or create a FASFA ID for you. It has to be something you create on your own or with your guardian by your side.
Check the URL
FASFA is free and on a secure government website. As savvy as you may consider yourself to be, keep in mind there’s always someone out there trying to thwart you out of your savings. These people are able to create almost identical websites and have all the right wording, hoping that you’re in a rush to get your FASFA completed. It’s the minor mistakes you have to look for, the most important one being whether or not the website you’re on ends in .gov. Bookmark https://fafsa.ed.gov/ to make sure you are applying on the correct site.
Well, not at this exact moment, but you do want to get your FASFA application done sooner rather than later. According to the website: “Because of the variation in state and college deadlines…fill out the FAFSA as soon as you can after October 1 to ensure that you don’t miss out on available aid.” If you’re a procrastinator, you’ll want to be especially careful so that you’re not missing out on this financial opportunity. It’s been reported by Harvard Business Review that”many students are missing out on key financial support for which they are eligible because they fail to successfully complete the financial aid application process.” Begin your application soon and, more importantly, finish it.
Are you looking for more resources to better understand financial aid? The site studentaid.ed.gov provides an archive of videos, brochures and articles.