Each student seeking financial aid for higher education must complete a FAFSA each year. If this seems like a daunting task, Galitz & Associates can help. We will complete the FAFSA for you.
Funding higher education is quite a challenge. Many families seek financial aid in the form of loans, grants, merit based scholarships, need based scholarships, and work study programs. Other than merit based scholarships, the first step to securing aid is to apply for it by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) through the US Department of Education. The FAFSA is an application for federal aid, but it is also used to apply for aid from other sources, like your state and your school. Be sure to check with your state and your school for any applications that may be required in addition to the FAFSA.
Before you begin to complete the FAFSA, you will need to do several things:
(1) Determine your student’s dependency status to see if you need to provide both the student’s and the parents’ financial information and signatures on the FAFSA.
(2) Apply for a PIN (personal identification number) with the U.S. Department of Education for both the student and a parent (if the student is a dependent).
(3) Be keenly aware of financial aid deadlines for filing the FAFSA. Your state and school deadlines may be earlier than the federal deadlines. It is recommended that you apply for aid early before funds run out.
Tip: Be sure to ask each school about their definition of an application deadline – is it the date and time the application is received or the date and time the application is processed?
In order to begin the application, you will need the following information for both the student, and, if your student is a dependent, the student’s parents. Special rules apply to dependent students of divorced parents.
- Contact information, social security numbers, and driver’s license numbers
- Completed income tax returns for the prior year
- Records of any untaxed income received for the prior year
- Most recent bank account statements
- Most recent business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bond, and other investment records.
Federal Student Aid provides worksheets to help you make sure that you have all of the information needed to fill out your application.
Once your FAFSA is processed by the United States Department of Education, you will be presented with a Student Aid Report (SAR). Among other things, the SAR will tell you what you and your family will be expected to contribute towards your education for the upcoming academic year. Generally the annual cost of attendance at your school is reduced by your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and any non need based aid to determine your financial need. If your EFC exceeds the cost of attendance, you will not have any financial need to attend that school. If your EFC is less than the cost of attendance at your school, the difference is your financial need to attend that school.