1. Do it
early. For the 2018/2019 award year, students are able to complete their
FAFSA using the prior, prior year’s tax data. In other words, you can complete your
18/19 FAFSA, using data from your 2016 taxes. This helps schools and students
resolve any issues well in advance of the applicable school year
have your taxes handy? No problem. There are many factors that determine
financial aid eligibility – and your taxes are a huge component of that equation.
The FAFSA will lead you through a step by step process to enter the
information. But if you don’t have it, or if you want to make it easier, use
the IRS Data
Retrieval Tool. The tool allows applicants to transfer tax information
automatically into their FAFSA from the IRS. Doing so decreases errors and the
chances of being selected for verification. Even if
you are selected for verification, the Data Retrieval simplifies the
verification process. In short, just use it.
must-have is your FSA ID. If you haven’t signed up for your FSA ID yet, you
can do so on the federal website.
You’ll need it to sign the FAFSA and other documents through the Department of
Education’s Direct Loan program. If you’re a Dependent, your parents will also
need to sign up for an FSA ID. Speaking of your parents…
4. Get your
parents on board. If you are a dependent, your parents will need to enter
their information into the FAFSA as well. Pick a day where you can work on it
together and consider it family bonding time.
5. Reach out
to your college’s Financial Aid department. These folks deal with the ins
and outs of the FAFSA and the financial aid process on a daily basis. They’ll answer your questions and give you
pointers about how to manage your aid before, during, and after college.