FAFSA Tips: First Installment
I have decided to introduce a section entitle “FAFSA Tips” for everyone who has ever realized how frustratingly confusing the FAFSA can be.
1. The first thing I would recommend when completing the FAFSA is to make sure that you are at the correct website and that you are able to submit the FAFSA for FREE! Simply go to www.fafsa.ed.gov to access the Department of Education’s website for the FAFSA. there are many sites which will charge you up to $80 to complete the FAFSA using the same form that you can find for free at www.fafsa.ed.gov .
2. Once you have confirmed you are at the correct location, I would then confirm that you will submit the FAFSA for the correct academic year. An academic year runs from July 1 – June 31st. So if you plan to take classes in this upcoming summer session, you would still need to fill out the 2008/2009 FAFSA. However, if you plan to start again in the Fall of 2009, then you would complete the 2009/2010 FAFSA. This can be a little misleading so make sure you have the correct year, if not, your school will not be able to process your information.
3. Once you have confirmed that you are at the correct website, and you know the correct academic year for which you should submit your FAFSA, I would recommend printing out a copy of the FAFSA application. This way you can read through all of the questions, make corrections, and gather all of your necessary information without the hassle of making corrections of the FAFSA website. Hopefully this will eliminate a lot of frustration with navigating throgh the FAFSA database.
4. My last tip for today would be to go ahead and apply for a FAFSA PIN. If you are using your parent’s tax information get them to apply for a FAFSA PIN as well. You will need these PIN numbers to electronically sign your FAFSA, so by applying early, you will save yourself time in the end.
Please check back for more quick tips on completing the FAFSA. Please feel free to ask any questions as I know this process can be confusing.