7 Steps to Completing the FAFSA
Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a critical first step in the financial aid process. While it may seem daunting at first glance, filling out the FAFSA doesn’t have to be overwhelming. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the FAFSA takes most people only 23 minutes to complete! In the time it takes to watch your favorite sitcom, you could be completing a major step toward paying for college. Student Choice’s College Access Counselor recently led a webinar about completing the FAFSA, and we’re highlighting some of the key steps here. (Tip: Check out our past webinar recordings or sign up for notices when new topics are announced!)
Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov to begin the FAFSA filing process. Remember, you can file NOW for the 2017-18 academic year, and the federal deadline to file is June 30, 2018. (Tip – don’t wait until then to file! State and college deadlines are sooner, so make sure you meet or beat those.) If you have questions while you’re completing the FAFSA, you can receive assistance over the phone by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID or schedule a one-on-one appointment with Student Choice's College Access Counselor.
Step 1 - Personal Information and Demographics
This section includes the basics, such as your name, Social Security number, date of birth, and contact information.
Step 2 - College Information
You will need to enter the information for the colleges where you want your FAFSA information sent. You can always add or change them later, but try to have a few of your top choices selected.
Step 3 - Dependency
There are many criteria used to determine whether you might qualify as an independent student. To look at the guidelines in advance, visit the Office of Federal Student Aid.
Step 4 - Parental Information
If you are in fact a dependent student (which is likely the case), your parents will then enter their information, including their personal data and income. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is a simple way to transfer income information for both your parents and yourself.
Step 5 - Your Financial Information
Next up is your own income. You’ll need information from your tax return in order to complete this section, but you may be able to transfer it using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
Step 6 - Sign and Submit
You will enter a few pieces of information in order to confirm your identity, and your parent will be asked to e-sign as well. You’re all done!
Step 7 - Confirmation - What is Next?
You will receive a copy of your FAFSA confirmation via email shortly after completing it. Within three to five days you should receive another email indicating your FAFSA has been processed. At that point your information is sent to the schools you selected, and it’s time to wait for your financial aid packages to be sent to you.
How can Student Choice help?
If you have questions about completing your FAFSA or about the financial aid process and paying for college, Student Choice can help! Our College Access Counselor is available for a free one-on-one consultation via phone or email. Request your appointment now!
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