Completing your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is one of the most important steps in applying for and securing financial aid for each year that you are in school. Completing your FAFSA on the web saves time, allows you to easily make changes or update the form yearly, and will make your financial aid paperwork a breeze.
Like the paper form counterpart, the online FAFSA requires your personal information, school information, and financial information. If you are a dependent, you’ll also need your parent’s financial information as well. Besides the basic tips of remembering to fill out everything accurately and actually submitting the form, the following tips will help you complete your FAFSA on the web quickly and ensure that you’ll be able to get every eligible financial aid dollar you should be getting.
Start Early- The great thing about filling out your FAFSA on the web is that you can create an online account for free at www.fafsa.edu.gov/ . This allows you to add information all at once or over time and allows you to come back later to add and update information if needed. This means you can fill out your basic information on your FAFSA form just to make sure your application is in the system, then come back later to fill out the rest of the information.
Save Time – If you need to make changes to your FAFSA form after already filling it out, you’ll have a hard time doing so using a paper form. Online you can log in and update your FAFSA form in minutes. Whether you forgot to add your college name or realized a dollar amount was entered wrong; you can log in and correct it anytime before the deadline. Completing your FAFSA on the web also allows you to come back the following year and only change the information that needs to be changed. Since you need to fill out the form yearly, this can save time and ensure accurate information is always submitted every year.
Get Reminded – You can set up e-mail reminders from sites such as FastWeb or direct from the FAFSA site to make sure you don’t forget to fill out your form each and every year. If you miss the deadline yo u can lose out on all financial aid, including private grants so you want to make sure your FAFSA form is completed before the deadline every time.
Be accurate – Always make sure your information is accurate. If you are applying for the first time and haven’t selected a school yet; put down all possible schools with proper school codes. Once you’ve been accepted and have decided where you are going, you can log in and remove the other schools. Failure to keep school information updated could delay your application, send information to the wrong school, or cause you to miss out on additional financial aid funding.
Also be accurate with your financial information; it may be tempting to lie about the numbers in your bank account, but keep in mind that not only may your household income be considered but also that the FAFSA is a government form and as such the federal government has access to IRS documents and criminal records. If you FAFSA are randomly selected for review, you may be in for more then lost financial aid if your information is falsely created.
Don’t guess on financial information or school codes. Always have the paperwork you need with you when filling out the form; if you don’t the online FAFSA allows you to save what you’ve previously entered so you can come back later with the remainder of your information.
Always fill it out – Whatever your financial and academic situation is, always fill out your FAFSA form and submit it each and every year. Whether you think you won’t get any financial aid or not; this is a free form that can save you thousands of dollars on your education. Not only does the FAFSA help determine what money you can get from the federal government for college, but many colleges use the FAFSA to determine the allocation of their own grant money. You could be losing out on free money for college or paying more interest for private loans by skipping the FAFSA.
Completing your FAFSA on the web is one of the smartest things you can do when financing your college education. FAFSA on the web is quick and easy and makes the yearly submission a lot less stressful.