How to Ace the FAFSA
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a tool that students use to apply for more than $120 billion in federal funds. Unfortunately, each year many students miss out.
Even if you don’t think you or your child qualify for federal aid, filling out a FAFSA is important because it could be used to determine eligibility for nonfederal aid and private funds.
FAFSA available October 1, 2017
Previously, the FAFSA was unavailable until January. A recent change makes the application available October 1, 2017. That’s because the 2018-19 FAFSA can be completed with your 2016 tax info.
Avoid FAFSA mistakes
Don’t forgo federal student aid by making one of the following common filing mistakes:
Not reading the instructions or questions
Answer all questions – even if the answer is zero. If left blank, the question will be considered unanswered. Check the FAFSA website if you are unsure of definitions of key FAFSA terms.
Incorrect, incomplete or non-matching data
Complete the FAFSA online. It takes only 3-5 days to process when submitted electronically. The online version has built-in safeguards that identify and prevent many errors.
Not filing on time
Get the application submitted ASAP. The sooner you or your child gets started, the higher the likelihood of being awarded funds since many are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Remember, students need to complete a FAFSA each year because eligibility does not carry over and can vary based on circumstances.