If your child is getting ready to enroll in college for the first time, there are probably a million things on their to-do list—and on yours! Between sending test scores, writing admissions essays, and keeping track of each application’s status, there’s no shortage of tasks to complete before they receive that highly anticipated acceptance letter. While all of these things are extremely important, there is one task that is perhaps the most important of all: filling out a FAFSA form for each school they apply to.
What is the FAFSA Form?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Form is a form designed for students seeking federal financial aid and grants. While a FAFSA Form is required to be eligible for student loans, the program also awards students with grants, need-based scholarships, work-study programs and more—the program typically gives away over $120 billion each year! Filling out the form is free, and often the only way students can be considered for certain grants or aid, so filling out the form is a smart choice for applicants from any income bracket.
How to Fill Out the FAFSA Form
- Gather Your Personal Information
To determine a student’s eligibility, the FAFSA Form requires quite a bit of information. The student will have to provide their Social Security Number as well as their parents’, their parents tax returns (and theirs, if applicable), and information about cash on hand, investments, and assets.
- Create a FSA ID and Complete the Application
The funds that are dispersed through FAFSA are limited, so it is wise to fill out your application as early as possible. This is where you will be asked for personal details and demographic information. Students and parents can also set a password and trade the application back and forth to make it easier to fill out specific parts of the form.
- Select the Schools to Receive Your Application
It is important for students to put every school they are considering on their FAFSA application so they can compare financial aid offerings from each institution they are accepted to. There is a maximum of 10, but a student can remove schools and add others as needed.
- Answer the Dependent Status Questions
These questions help to determine what aid a student is eligible for by confirming their dependency status. Most students will be considered dependents and will be routed to a parent demographic section to fill in more details.
- Provide Financial Details
Students who are not considered dependents will be prompted to put in their own information here, such as balances of checking and savings accounts. For those that are dependents, this is where parents can input their assets, investments, and more.
- Sign and Submit
That’s all there is to it! Once you sign and submit your FAFSA Form, it will be sent to all the schools listed on your application. Congratulations!
If you are a parent hoping to save for your child’s education, let us help. We can assist you with picking out the right tuition savings strategy for your situation. Contact us today to learn more.
Guardian and its subsidiaries do not issue or advise with regard to student loans.