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How to Complete FAFSA

Feb 1, 2016 | Harrison College

How to Complete FAFSA

Did you know that more than 85 percent of undergraduate students receive some sort of financial aid? And at Harrison College, that number is closer to 95 percent. While returning to school can seem intimidating, knowing the facts about financial aid can make the process much easier to tackle.

The first step in qualifying for financial assistance is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines your eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant as well as other collegiate financial assistance. The Pell Grant is a federal student aid program that is based on financial need and does not require repayment.

For most financial aid, completing the FAFSA form is required, so if you are looking to qualify for grants, scholarships or loans, you will need to submit this form.

Completing the FAFSA is a lot like filing your taxes. The numbers and forms can be confusing, but with these tips, you will be prepared to knock out the FAFSA and be one step closer to financing your education.

Timing is key.

The 2016-2017 school-year FAFSA form is available now, and this year’s Federal Aid Deadline is June 30, 2016. That may seem like a long time to complete the form, but the sooner you complete it, the sooner you can see what funds you may have access to, so that you can start planning your courses.

Also, FAFSA is not a one-time deal. You will need to complete the form each year you are in school. Generally, the form is available January-June each year. For specific timelines, visit the FAFSA website.

Personal info you need.

Gathering all the information needed to complete FAFSA before starting the application will help speed up the process because you will not be tracking down documents as you apply. Here’s what you will need:

  • Personal Identification: Social Security Number (Or Alien Registration Number if you are not a U.S. citizen)
  • Income: Most recent federal income tax returns, W-2s, bank statements and records of investments, records of untaxed income and any other records of money earned
  • Electronic Identification: FSA ID is needed to sign electronically. To find your FSA ID or create a new one, use the Federal Student Aid site.

The personal information needed for FAFSA is based on your dependency status – are you a dependent student, meaning one or both of your parents claim you as a dependent, or are you an independent tax filer?

According to the U.S. Department of Education, dependents must report their parents’ information, including income, and independents must report their information along with their spouses’ info if married. For more information on determining your dependency status, you can use the Department of Education’s dependency tool.

Where to apply.

You can apply directly through the FAFSA website. Simply visit fafsa.ed.gov and choose to “Start A New FAFSA.” If you have applied before, you will need to login as a returning visitor.

 

These tips will help prepare you for completing FAFSA this year and in years to come. For more support, visit Harrison’s financial aid resources, contact a Harrison College financial aid analyst online or call 888-544-4422.

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