The year is flying by and October 1st is just one day away. That not only means that Halloween is right around the corner but the 2019-2020 FAFSA is opening!

We can all agree that the financial aid process can be daunting. To help you through the process, here are some Frequently Asked Questions about the FAFSA:

What is the FAFSA? FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The information from the FAFSA is used to award federal & state grants, need-based scholarships, subsidized loans, and work-study opportunities.  

What information do I need to complete the FAFSA? For the 2019-2020 FAFSA, you will need the following information from the student (and parents, if the student is younger than 24 years old):

  • Social Security Number

  • 2017 Tax Returns

  • Bank statements and records of investments

  • Records of untaxed income (ex. child support)

  • FSA ID

There is an IRS Data Retrieval Tool that can be used to access your tax returns.  However, it’s not always reliable, so it’s best to have the information handy just in case!

How do I get a FSA ID? Visit fsaid.ed.gov to register for a FSA ID.  If a student is younger than 24, parents will need their own ID. Tip: Connect a personal email address to your FSA ID, not your school or work email.  You’ll be using your FSA ID for 4 years of college and may lose access to your high school  or work email.

How do I submit the FAFSA? You can complete the FAFSA at fafsa.ed.gov. Part of the application asks which schools you would like to receive your FAFSA. You’ll add the colleges you are planning to apply to in that section. Students can select up to 10 schools for free.

When should I file my FAFSA? While the FAFSA deadline is not until June 2019, it’s in your best interest to file as soon as you can. There is a finite amount of federal money so the earlier you submit the more aid you may receive.  At the very latest, we recommend that you submit the FAFSA by Thanksgiving.  Tip: Many schools have a “priority” application deadline. Students who submit their application & FAFSA before that deadline are given priority in terms of financial aid packages.  Schools may set individual FAFSA deadlines as well.

When do I find out how much financial aid I will receive? Once you start receiving your acceptances from colleges, you’ll also begin receiving financial aid packages from each school. The timing will vary, with financial aid notifications ranging from a few weeks to a few months after acceptance.

My parents are divorced. Which parent’s information should I use on the FAFSA? If your parents are divorced and do not live together, you will use the custodial parent’s information on the FAFSA. If your situation is a bit more complicated, use this flowchart from the Federal Student Aid Office as a cheat sheet.

I believe that my parents make too much money to receive any financial aid.  Should I still submit a FAFSA? Yes! You should always submit a FAFSA regardless of household income. There are quite a few financial aid opportunities, with varying eligibility requirements, that will only be awarded to students with a FAFSA on file.  Examples include the HOPE Scholarship in Georgia and merit scholarships at certain colleges.

Simply Admissions is happy to help answer any financial aid related questions you may have! Please contact us for more information.