Summer tends to be the season where we want to think about school (and school loans!) the least. However, the end of this month marks the deadline for submitting FAFSA student aid applications. It’s the single point of entry for most government-funded assistance including student loans, grants, and work-study. Here’s the skinny on what you need to get that finished up in one quick sitting so that you’re ready for the beach and sun and summer.
Step 1: Gather the Information You Need
There’s little worse than getting together the inertia to start a project only to have to bail part way through it. Here’s what you need:
- Social security number
- Driver’s license number, if you have one
- Your parents’ most recent tax returns
- Your parents’ social security numbers (which should be on the tax form 1040)
- The month and year your parents were married (if they’re married) or divorced (if divorced/separated)
- Balances for your parents’ savings, including bank accounts and investments
Almost all undergraduate students will be considered a dependent and will have to provide their parents’ financial info. For more information about special circumstances or what to do if you are not a dependent, click here.
If your parents are comfortable entering their info themselves, you can save the application and provide them with a “Save Key”. That allows them to log into your account and enter some of the information on your behalf. There is also an option with the online version to have them import tax records directly from the IRS website if your records are available electronically.
Step 2: Enter the Information
Click here to get to the FAFSA application and get started. You will need to use that page to create your FAFSA ID if you don’t have one. Once you do, you can also use the smart phone app; just search for “myStudentAid” in the App Store.
Step 3: Choose Which Schools Receive Your Information
You can choose up to 10 schools with the online versions. Make sure to check all schools you plan to apply to, even if you have not yet been accepted. It’s far easier to choose them now than to try to re-send once the FAFSA is submitted.
Step 4: Sign and Submit
You have the option to do this electronically, and your parent(s) will as well if you had to provide their information. With the deadline looming, it’s preferable to printing and mailing if you are comfortable with electronic signatures.
If you’re getting stuck, the studentaid.ed.gov website has a host of FAFSA application walk-through’s and tips. If you need more specific help, you can call their helpline at (800) 433-3243.
Apprisen is also here to help you make sense of the big picture, not just how to complete the FAFSA application, but what you really might need in student loans, ways to save on costs, and why having a spending plan during college is just an A+ choice. Check out our free Student Loan Education Session for more info.