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Spring Deadlines and FAFSA Tips

Been procrastinating for applying to college? It’s January and those college admission deadlines are rapidly approaching. Most early decision application deadlines are in late January/early February. Don’t these deadlines creep up on you and not be prepared.

There are some things that you need to keep in mind to stay on track for fall 2014 admissions.

  • Finish your application for admission
  • Double check all your test scores have been sent out.
  • Triple check all your letters have recommendation have been sent out.
  • Make sure to complete the FAFSA.
  • Have your midyear grades sent to colleges.

We mentioned filling out the FAFSA but what exactly is the FAFSA and why do you have to fill it out? This is your FAFSA guideline!

If you are considering applying for any federal financial aid the very first thing you must do is fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as the FAFSA. Even if you know you will not qualify for any need-based student aid most universities require you to fill it out to receive other scholarships as well.

When you go to fill out the FAFSA online be sure to go to the official website, www.fafsa.ed.gov. There are other websites that will charge you a fee to submit it. Do not get scammed, the FAFSA is 100% free. When I first went to fill out my FAFSA I almost got scammed until I realized it wasn’t the actual government website.

The earliest the FAFSA can be turned in is January 1st, but you can prepare for it before you apply. Federal aid is given out on a first come-first-serve basis. If you want to get any financial aid you must apply as early as possible. If you apply too late you may not get any money at all.

In order to be prepared you should have these items ready before applying:

  • Social Security card and Driver’s License (if applicable).
  • Income tax returns or an estimate as close as possible.
  • W-2 forms and records of income.
  • Records and documentation of any untaxed income received such as
  • welfare benefits,Social Security income, veteran’s benefits, etc.
  • Records of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investments.
  • Current bank statements.
  • Current mortgage information.

The amount of federal aid awarded will be determined using all the information you give them from the past year. Your parent’s income plays a heavy role in determining what level of financial aid is received.

To avoid any problems when completing the form be sure you fill out every question. If the question does not apply to your situation do not leave it blank, write N/A. When filling out the personal information do not use nicknames. Use your full name as it appears on your Social Security card. You should do this when filling out any applications for colleges. When you get to the end do not forget to sign it along with both your parents.

Because we live in the 21st century more and more non-traditional families are arising. Some schools may determine dependent status based on “unusual” living circumstances, such as unwed parents, being raised by grandparents, same-sex parents, and so on. If this is the situation you are in call the admissions office or student services office of the colleges you are interested in.

Finally, after submitting the FAFSA in full, you should receive a letter within 3-4 weeks. This form will have your EFC (expected family contribution) this will give you a chance to review your forms and make any changes. You then mail it to the financial aid administrator at your college and wait to hear back. They will put together your final award package that you will receive around late March or early April, highlighting your financial aid options.

Do you have any other FAFSA questions that we can answer? Let us know!

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