Reminder: Time to Start the Financial Aid Process
If you have a child in college or entering college during the next school year, you need to read this. You can now fill out your required Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) for the next school year.
FAFSA application timeframe
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process opened on Oct. 1.
The time to file is now
The earlier you file your application, the earlier you will receive aid packages from most participating schools. The application is used to receive grants, federal loans and work study awards. Here are some hints to ensure the application process works in your favor:
- Create your FSA ID. If you have not already done so, both the student and a parent will need to set up a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID (username and password) within the FAFSA system. You cannot submit the FAFSA form without first doing this.
- File the FAFSA early! As soon as possible, fill out and submit your FAFSA. Filing early maximizes your chances of receiving aid. It also minimizes your chances of missing an unknown application deadline.
- Use your tax records. Because the year is not yet over, you can use last year's (2018) tax information when filling out the application. There are IRS tax return data retrieval tools within the online application to automate this process.
- Talk to your advisors. If you have a child ready to attend college, stay in touch with both your financial advisor and your school advisor. A financial advisor is used to help manage your assets to present a good financial picture starts before your student's junior year in high school. The school advisor is a great resource to help you find potential sources of money.
- Collect the right info. To fill out a FAFSA you will need the following:
- Social Security number
- Alien registration number (if not a U.S. citizen)
- Federal tax information
- Record of any nontaxable income (excluding retirement account balances)
- Balances of the following:
- Cash, savings and checking accounts
- Investment asset balances
- Other assets
- FSA ID
Filling out the form can be a daunting task for the uninitiated, but with proper preparation you can get your form done in quick order.