For any parent getting ready to send a child off to college, learning about college financial aid can be a daunting task. For parents brand new to college financial aid, you can learn more by visiting our Getting Started section. One of the most important college financial aid tools is the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), just as the name implies, this is the “gateway form” for all of your child’s federal financial aid for college. We have put together some quick tips to get you started on what you’ll want to know when it comes to FAFSA:
1. Make sure that you have all of the documentation and items you will need to file the FAFSA. A little preparation upfront, can save you a lot of time. You can see a list of the things that you will want to have readily available when you begin the FAFSA by clicking here.
2. File your taxes as early as possible, because FAFSA will require some information from your filed taxes. However, do NOT miss the FAFSA deadline or let your taxes keep your from filing the FAFSA as early as possible. You can always estimate your tax information on the FAFSA, and update it later after you have completed your taxes.
3. When it comes to FAFSA, the “early bird gets the worm”. Some of the state and federal financial aid that your child may be awarded, is set on a first come, first served basis, so getting your FAFSA completed as soon as possible after the opening date is very important. You are able to apply for FAFSA on January 1st of each year.
4. File FAFSA online, it’s quicker, easier, and all of your personal information is safeguarded. You can obtain your FAFSA PIN number at www.pin.ed.gov. This PIN will act as your electronic signature on your child’s online FAFSA.
5. FAFSA has a very extensive FAQ (frequently asked questions) section, utilize this to it’s fullest. When it comes to financial aid for college, understanding is key. If you have questions be sure to utilize the resources available to you on the FAFSA website, and be sure to check out all of the information we have available here on CollegeWhale.com.