Federal Financial Aid Information
Education is the key to your future. It not only opens many doors that otherwise would remain close but it helps you become a better person. For years we have been asked about what colleges to attend and what careers are going to be in demand in the future. One subject comes up 9 times out of 10 and that is “How do I pay for college?”
Not all students realize just how many governmental programs are available to them to assist with college tuition. The government has a vested interested in your education as you are the ones that will be running the country of the future and without the proper training and education the economy cannot function properly.
Financial Aid is a governmental program that was started to help students go to school. The program has 2 sides. One side is a program where your current financial status or those of your parents are used to determine how much money you will get for free to attend a classes or college.
The other side is where you can borrow money at very low interest rates for college and your payments do not begin until you graduate. You can use 1 or a combination of both to help finance your education. Bottom line on finance is that the funds are available to you to go to school; all you have to do is know where to look.
FASFA is an office of the US Department of Education and helps people pay for college. When you visit their site you’ll have an opportunity to set up a free account, find schools that are currently offering federal financial aid as well as help on filling out the forms. You’ll also find all the deadlines and information needed to fill out the forms. Typically January 1st is the first day of the year you can file for FASFA.
1. File on time. One of the biggest mistakes an individual can do is spend all of the time needed to fill out your FASFA application only to realize you missed the deadline dates. You can start filling out the forms as early as January 1 and most school will want them completed and to them no later than the end of February.
2. Make sure to have all of your tax information and know what numbers to use, especially when it comes to savings or investments. A lot of people make the mistake of adding in their 401K savings in FAFSA as an asset which it isn’t.
3. Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This can really help and save time when applying. It also will pull select information directly from the IRS into your application so the numbers are correct.
4. Be sure to sign the application with your 4 digit pin number (not your parents).
5. Since over 20 million people fill out the FAFS application each year mistakes are bound to happen but the fewer mistakes the better as some might hold up the entire process.
6. The last tip is never use a form or application that you didn’t get directly from the .gov website that is mentioned below. Some companies offer services that fill out the forms for you but often they charge a big fee and sometimes your information isn’t secure.
Visit FAFSA online at www.fafsa.edu.gov