Filing for financial student aid can be a daunting task. There’s a reason why there’s been a push for simplifying the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) with almost every recent election cycle. Luckily, with online filing and our suggestions below, you can get aid for college faster! Here’s what you’ll need to get your aid for college as fast as possible:
Photo by Steve Wampler
- Determine whether you need to file a separate form for state and federal aid. Some states don’t require you to fill out a separate form from the FAFSA, while others do.
- Collect your and/or your parents’ tax forms . You’ll just need the forms with the total number of deductions, total taxable income amount, taxes paid, etc, so search for the actual form that you and/or your parents filed. If your parents claim you as a dependent, the amount of aid you are eligible to receive from state and federal funds will be determined by your parents’ income.
- Apply for a PIN (Personal Identification Number) for FAFSA processing— Students with PIN numbers registered with the U.S. Department of Education can complete their application online and receive aid for college faster. You’ll need to apply for a PIN to be sent to your home address, but once you have it, you can use it for the rest of your college career.
- Remember to cancel any federal or state aid package from a former school when transferring mid-semester. Schools check state and federal databases for duplicate entries before awarding aid for college to prevent a student from receiving two or more aid packages. If you don’t cancel the aid package from your former school, your new school may not be able to offer you a package and will cancel any package they formerly extended.
- Be Honest. It’s important to keep in mind that the FAFSA is a federal document. Lying on this form can come with harsh punishment, including a steep fine and possible prison time. You also need to be aware that those convicted of certain crimes, including drug offenses, are not eligible for federal aid for college. If you have any questions, you can contact your school’s financial aid office or the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID.