The Free Application For Federal Student Aid or FAFSA form for the 2018-2019 school year has been released. This is a government-based form with the goal of providing support for education funds. If your child is looking to receive any Federal or State funded money for their college tuition, filling out a FAFSA form is a requirement.
FAFSA is used to determine the amount of funding a student can receive based on financial need. This form considers the overall financial profile of the student and the household they belong to. Notorious for its length and complexity, FAFSA does come with its own challenges. This blog is here to help you and your child breeze through it!
What are the steps?
This application is found and completed online through the FAFSA portal, which you can find here. FAFSA is comprised of 7 sections, all detailing specific aspects of the household income and financial landscape of the family. Let’s take a look at these sections and the documentation you will need in order to fill them out.
#1: Student Information
This section is all about your student: birthday, age, address, driver’s license number, social security number, convictions, parent’s education level, type of degree pursuing. Just about any basic information you can think of, lives in this first section. It is handy to have all necessary documents: ID, SS card, etc. to make the process go smoother.
#2 Student Financial Information
This section is where the student’s tax documents and assets (money saved) will come into play. It will ask for their tax return, earnings, adjusted gross income, untaxed income, any spousal income if applicable, and miscellaneous financial information.
#3 Student Status
Student status looks at their marital, military, dependent, minor, and home status. In essence, this section looks at who the student is and their legal family situation.
#4 Parent Information
This is another lengthy section, comprised of 35 questions to assess the parent’s financial state. The form will ask for social security verification, tax returns, all income channels, residency status, and investments.
#5 Student Household Information
Here, the form asks you about the general household information including benefit status and dislocated worker status.
You have to choose the schools your student is planning on applying to and which will receive FAFSA (up to 10 schools can be selected).
#7 Sign, Date, Log-off
In this stage you can review your information, sign and date the document and you are all set!
What are the logistics?
With any government form, processes and procedures are built-in to the system. I’ll give you some frequently asked questions and answers to help you with the process this year.
Do I have to fill out a form every year?
With FAFSA it is important to remember that the form is not a one-time thing. You must complete a new form each school year.
What is the deadline?
The deadline for filling out the 2018-2019 FAFSA form is June 30, 2019.
Do I need a separate student and parent account?
If you have to input both student and parent information, then you will need both a student and parent account. This process will give you both FSA ID numbers. Keep these numbers handy as you will need them before pressing submit.
So my student signed the form, what next?
If the student is a dependent, the parent will also have to log in with their FSA ID and sign it before the form is considered officially completed.
I know that FAFSA can be a difficult form to fill out, but with the breakdown of the form itself and answers to common questions, hopefully you will find it to be a breeze this year!