...from GuidedPath Edge Guru

Seniors: How do you get money for college? (FAFSA!)

government building


Have you been receiving emails about “filing the FAFSA” from colleges or your high school counseling office?  Are you wondering what information you need in order to file a FAFSA?

What is the FAFSA?

The Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form students and parents must complete and submit to the federal government to determine their eligibility for federal financial aid?  

Who files the FAFSA?

Since this is a federal program, it is for US citizens or students with a legal status in the United States. International students are not eligible for federal student aid.

What kind of aid does the federal government offer?

There are three types of aid offered by the US government: 1) Grants, 2) Student Loans, 3) Workstudy.

Top Six Tips for getting ready to file the FAFSA

    1. Create 2 separate FSA ID’s.  Each student and parent need an ID to use to officially sign the FAFSA.  Click here for directions to setting up a FSA ID.
    2. Gather financial records. Use the latest complete taxes you have. Gather end of the year bank records: savings, mortgages, stocks, bonds, other investments.
    3. Gather personal records. Organize all parent and student social security, birth dates, and other personal information for easy access.
    4. Use IRS Data Retrieval tool.  Once you start your FAFSA, you will see a question in the FAFSA asking if you want connect your tax return to your FAFSA.  Say “YES”.  This will streamline your process.
    5. Prioritize your Colleges.  You can only list 10 colleges at a time on the FAFSA.  If you have more than 10, prioritize your list with private and in state schools in the top 10.
    6. Plan to file early. The FAFSA application opened Oct. 1. It will be open until June or July.  Many colleges and state programs have deadlines in February and March.  Plan to file at least 20 days before the deadline.

Follow these tips and you will sail through completing the FAFSA!

To Do:

  1. Complete the EFC Calculator in GuidedPath.  Review the results with parents.
  2. Read Tackling the Basics of College Affordability to learn how colleges award financial aid.