5 steps to apply for the FAFSA!
Do you want to go back to school for a career training program? School costs money, but don’t give up on your quest to further your education! Your first step is to apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This free application allows you to see if you are eligible for grants and loans that may significantly give you financial assistance for school.
Your FAFSA may be completed and submitted online. These five tips can help you fill out your FAFSA to see if you are eligible for any type of federal financial assistance.
1. Read the eligibility guidelines
FAFSA has a list of eligibility guidelines. If you fit the eligibility criteria, you may continue to fill out and submit the form. Remember, that being eligible to apply doesn’t guarantee you any money. It only means you can apply. If you need help determining your eligibility, just as a financial aid advisor at Salter College for assistance. We’ll be happy to assist you.
2. Get a FSA ID
Before applying, you will need to create a FSA ID. You can create an ID at any time and then come back to the application later if you’re not ready to complete it yet. It takes less than a minute to sing up! If you are a dependent student, then you will need your parents to make a FSA ID as well.
3. Gather all necessary documentation
Before you apply, you need to gather a bevy of documents so that you have all the necessary information needed for the financial aid officials to determine how much aid you may receive. Make life easier on yourself and gather it together and finish the application at one time. This way you won’t feel scattered and you won’t be frantically searching for more information at the last minute. The documents you will need include your:
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Driver’s license number (not required)
- Alien Registration Number (for non-US citizens only)
- Federal tax information, ex. Tax returns, W-2 forms for yourself and spouse (if applicable), 1040 forms, or any income received
- Records of untaxed income (includes child support or veterans’ non-education benefits)
- Bank statements of checking and/or savings accounts balances
- Record of any investments or other miscellaneous assets
- Parents’ information including all of the above (dependents only)
- A list of schools you wish to apply to
When applying, list all of the school that you wish to attend. You need to include at least one school so the federal employees can determine which school address to send the summary report to.
4. Follow step-by-step instructions
If you’re confused about any requirements in the application process, never fear! You can watch the FAFSA video tutorial online which offers a step-by-step process and tips for filling out the application. A Filling out the FAFSA webpage is also useful and comes with written tips and instructions.
5. Complete, sign, and file away!
Complete the application by filling out all the required information. Make sure you double-check the information to make sure what you’ve filled out is correct and that the application is thorough. Afterwards, sign the document and submit it for review. You may need to wait up to 3 weeks for the FAFSA to be processed. By email, you’ll receive a Student Aid Report which summarizes the report that your desired school will receive. This is just for your records and you don’t need to worry about it. The schools will then use the report to determine what financial aid package they are able to offer you. You can wait until the school contacts you. If they don’t contact you within a week of receiving the report, then make sure to contact the financial aid office.
Tips to Remember
- Triple-check your application. A mistake could jeopardize your chances of receiving financial aid. You don’t want to lose out on tuition money because of a small mistake! Remember to sign it because this is your certification that everything on the document is accurate and it is you who is signing the document.
- Filling out the FAFSA is free: https: fafsa.gov. Don’t fall for any scams or websites that require you to type in your SSN or credit card information. These are not trustworthy sites.
- If you do get financial aid, make sure to read the offer very carefully. Make sure you understand the difference between grants and loans. Grants are free money; it doesn’t have to be repaid. A loan needs to repaid with interest after your schooling is complete. If you don’t think you can repay a loan, don’t accept it. The Types of Student Aid video can help you determine the meaning of different types of financial assistance.
We wish you good luck with your application process and if you need any help contact the financial aid advisors at Salter College for more information! If you think an education is worth it, then make sure you fill out this application. We hope this guide helps the process go smoother for you!
Salter College offers student advice and job tips in its weekly blog. For more information on our career training programs or our Financial Aid Department, contact us today for more information. We'll be happy to help you out as you determine your future!