It’s that time again for College students both: male and female, young and old to file your FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. If you’re an older adult going to college for the very first time, continuing your education or just starting out, this is an important step. FAFSA is very intimidating or a turn off to people for several reasons. One of the main reasons is that most feel you will be at your computer all night, trying to figure out how to file. Others feel that they simply make too much money to even spend time filling out the FAFSA. Both are incorrect. However, you will need a bit of information and I always suggest some free and quiet time to fill out the forms. That means if you have young ones or a pet, you want to make sure they are occupied with other things. Here are some tips to filling out and filing your FAFSA with ease:
First you want to have readily available the paperwork you will need. This will help the process go along much more smoothly. The first thing to find and have ready is your tax information from the previous year. This should be an easy one, because we all know how important it is to keep your tax forms? Right? I hope so. Even if you’re married and file your taxes separately, you will still need to have your spouses tax information. If you are a young person, you will need your parents information. Let them know that you are gunning for FREE money and they should be more than happy to give you the forms.
Next pull your current bank statements and have them by your side. Many people bank online now a days, but I suggest you log on to your account and print out your most recent bank statements. You don’t want to have to switch from tab to tab to view these statements on the computer, when you’re filling out your forms. It’s much easier to have them printed out and by your side.
Make sure you have your Social Security card readily available and that the number is correct. This may seem like a no brainer, but not everyone, especially young people, have memorized their Social Security number. If you don’t have a Social Security number, you will need proof of your residency status. This is very important, but again, something that should be in a safe place and readily available.
For those in Business, make sure you have your investment information handy. Those in business and settled adults returning to college, who are sometimes referred to as non-traditional students, may think that they won’t benefit from filing a FAFSA. Think again. At the very least you could qualify for a low interest rate loan versus a higher rate loan from your financial institution. This could save you lots of money down the line. Don’t kick yourself later, take advantage of a program that is meant to help everyone.
Now comes the easy part. If you’re reading this, you’re probably already familiar with the internet, so go online to the FAFSA website (see my resource link below). The first thing about the site that should bring you great joy, are the big numbers on the home page: 1 2 3. It’s that easy.
Now that you’ve read this article you’re already ahead of the game, as you have the information you need readily available. Make sure to check the deadlines for filing and don’t procrastinate. Print out as much as you can and especially print any page the website designates as important information to retain. Feel free to share this article with young and older adult college students. Continuing your education and life long learning is one of the best investments you could ever make and getting financial help, by taking a little time to file your FAFSA, makes it all the better!