October 8, 2017

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for 2018-19 is open!

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2018-19 academic year opened on October 1!

Even though the final application deadline won’t be until 2019, you should submit it as soon as possible after it becomes available. The FAFSA is good for more than just federal grants; states, colleges, and career schools use it, too, and it can qualify you for loans, work-study programs, and scholarships as well. These deadlines are typically sooner, and some funds are even awarded on a first-come first-served basis.

Here are five things you can do right now to ease your application process:

1. Determine whether you’re a dependent or independent student and, if you’re a dependent student, determine who is your “parent” when you fill out the FAFSA.

2. Request your FSA ID. Students, parents, and borrowers need this username and password to access certain U.S. Department of Education websites. It also confirms your identity when accessing your financial aid information and electronically signing certain documents. For dependent students, use your parent for the FSA ID. It can take a few days to process this, so get a head start and request it now. Your name must be entered exactly as it appears on your Social Security card!

3. Gather the following documents to complete the form. If you’re a dependent student, you need the info for your parent:

  • Social Security Number
  • Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
  • Most recent federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned.
  • Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
  • Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
  • FSA ID to sign electronically

4. Choose up to ten schools you’d like to receive your FAFSA with your initial submission and look up their Federal School Codes in advance. (You can add more schools later at no charge.)

5. Read last year’s FAFSA and instructions to become familiar with it. Take a look at the FAFSA website for its informative help section.

College Essay Whiz offers consultants who will also be able to guide you through the process!

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