Parents of Homeschool Seniors: 10 FAFSA Filing Tips!
Parents of Homeschool Seniors: 10 FAFSA Filing Tips
It’s FAFSA filing season!
If you have a senior headed off to college next fall and you’ve never done FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) before here are a few tips that will help ease the process:
- FAFSA is the gateway to any federal student aid such as Pell Grants (income-based grants) and federal student loans (available to most students but must be repaid).
- According to college admissions officers I’ve spoken to over the years, some aid is first-come, first-served. In other words, there may be deadlines and you may wait until the deadline to file your FAFSA, but the colleges themselves parcel out that aid. When it is gone, it is gone.
- October 1 is the first day to file FAFSA for the NEXT school year. In other words: October 1, 2016 is the first day to file FAFSA for the 2016-17 school year.
- This means that your student may file FAFSA before he/she sends in her college applications.
- In order to file FAFSA, you will need to have on hand your completed *prior prior year* federal income taxes forms for both you AND your student. (This is a change. In the past you needed *prior year* 1040s to file FAFSA.) *Prior prior year* or *ppy* if you want to be FAFSA-hip for the 2016-17 year is 2015. You will use the *IRS Data Retrieval Tool* to pull your tax forms from the IRS right to FAFSA. FAFSA will ask you several questions that will be MUCH easier to answer if you also have your own paper copy on hand.
- Know what your assets are and your teen’s assets (savings, checking, investments, etc).
- Go to FAFSA.gov to begin the process. The website coaches you step by step through the process.
- You and your student will create FSAID (like a username) and passwords. TAKE MY WORD FOR THIS: WRITE THESE DOWN IN A PLACE YOU CAN EASILY RETRIEVE THEM!!! (You will need them each year PLUS often you will need them for some of the paperwork for the colleges themselves.)
- As you go through the FAFSA process, make sure you SAVE periodically.
- Know what kinds of student aid your teen is interested in: grants? loans? work study? (If he/she isn’t sure, choose everything- it can be turned down later if not wanted.)
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