Sunday, June 21, 2009

Handy Tips To Kick Start Your FAFSA Application Process

By Max Hargis

It is essential for every student to fill in the FAFSA or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This can help in assessing whether the student qualifies for any financial aid. The school can offer any financial aid package including grants, work study programs, scholarships and even loans, only if the FAFSA form has been submitted.

Many kinds of details will be required to complete the FAFSA form. Personal details like Date of Birth, Social Security Number, and contact details will need to be filled in. Also be prepared to share information about income and tax, educational qualifications, living arrangements, etc.

Be aware that if you are below 21 years of age, the details would be relevant to your parents' income. However, there could be anomalies to this procedure. It is advisable to contact a financial assistance official or to visit the FAFSA website to check if you are eligible.

To complete the questions, you will need a copy of your tax return, or your parents, and possibly bank statements for accounts that accrue interest.

Even though you may revise your answers as and when required, it is best to be acquainted with all details so that your answers are accurate. It is a good idea to have all the required details handy while filling in the form. Ensure that you drop your application well before the deadline. The state deadlines are usually much earlier than federal deadlines, so be aware of the correct dates.

You may apply online or obtain a packet that must be mailed in. If you choose to apply online, you will first be prompted to create an account and a password. You will also be given a computer generated PIN. You can request the PIN be mailed or choose to view it online. At anytime during the application you may save the information and continue at a later date. After your application has been successfully submitted, you will receive a confirmation number and an e-mail.

The information provided on the FAFSA will calculate an estimated family contribution, commonly referred to as EFT. If the EFT is 0, you are not expected to have to pay for a portion of tuition costs. However, if the EFT is above 0 then you are responsible for paying some towards your education. Even if the student is not eligible for state or federal grants the FAFSA should still be completed. This helps to ensure that the student can obtain loans, work study, and apply for scholarships.

The FAFSA results for all applicants are received by the respective school and you will be contacted by your school if any more financial or personal particulars are needed. Details required can range from copies of your tax returns, to W-2s, or any relevant documentation. This happens as part of the verification process, and is applicable for selected candidates. When the applicant clears this routine, they will be eligible for financial grants.

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