7 Things You Need to Know About Filing your FAFSA Application

If you plan to apply for college financial aid to help you pay for college, you may be wondering, what is the FAFSA? This Sunday, October 1st, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) officially opened for the 2018-2019 school year. Millions of high school seniors and college students will submit FAFSA applications in order to qualify for financial aid. We’ll break down exactly what the FAFSA is, when to apply, and what information is required.

 

What is the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is a form that students need to file every year in order to qualify for college level federal aid, work-study, grants and even merit-based scholarships.

In order to fill out the FAFSA, you’ll need information like you and your parents’ social security numbers, records of you and your parents’ income, and records of your parents’ bank statements and investments. For high school seniors hoping to qualify for scholarships and grants for college next fall, that means that you’ll have to fill out your FAFSA now to be eligible for aid when you get to college.

 

When is the 2017 FAFSA application deadline?

The deadline to submit the 2018-2019 FAFSA is June 30, but it’s in your best interest to file your FAFSA early. Many colleges and states allocate funds, such as Pell Grants, on a first-come, first-served basis, and research shows that students who file their FAFSA in the first three months can more than double their aid.

 

Should I apply for the FAFSA?

Even if you don’t think you qualify for need-based aid, you should still apply.  Students still need to fill out of the FAFSA to qualify for federal student loans, and to be eligible for many colleges’ merit-based aid, including micro-scholarships on RaiseMe.

 

Filing the FAFSA pays off. Filing the FAFSA might not be an easy task for students, parents or guardians (Yes! It requires all-hands on deck) — but all signs point to it being worth the effort.  According to Edvisors, students on average lose $9,700 for not filling out the FAFSA. So no matter what, students should be thinking, preparing, and filing for the FAFSA as soon as possible.

 

Seniors can earn RaiseMe micro-scholarships for completing their FAFSA. This year, beginning on October 3rd, seniors using RaiseMe to earn college scholarships can RaiseMe scholarships for completing the FAFSA! So far, 20 colleges on RaiseMe, including West Virginia University, University of Kentucky, University of Pittsburgh, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Mount Holyoke College, Grinnell College, and  Madonna University are offering FAFSA micro-scholarships ranging from $50 to $4,000 for eligible students.

 

Sign into your RaiseMe portfolio to see how much completing your FAFSA can count for towards college micro-scholarships.

 

 

Some reminders ahead of completing the FAFSA:

EVERYONE NEEDS TO GET A FSA ID

On top of students signing up for a Federal Student Aid ID, parents or guardians need one too.

PREPARE DOCUMENTS IN ADVANCE

While you’re filling out the FAFSA you’ll need between 6-10 legal documents including bank, income and tax statements depending on your circumstances (citizen, non-citizen, dependent, independent etc.) Make sure you have all the right documents by checking out the full list on Nerdwallet’s FAFSA guide.

SIGN UP FOR RAISEME!

If you haven’t already created a RaiseMe account, filling out the FAFSA can help you not only earn up to , but can lead to eligibility to earn micro-scholarships for dozens of other colleges, depending on your family’s income status. But remember — completing your RaiseMe portfolio is the only way to find out what scholarships you’re guaranteed by over 265 colleges. Learn more about how to update your RaiseMe portfolio.

 

 

It’s easy to add FAFSA completion to your list of Portfolio achievements on RaiseMe!

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