FAFSA Online

While you have the option to download a PDF or request a paper version of the 2016-17 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), submitting it online at FAFSA.gov is the recommended method for many reasons.

Benefit #1: Accuracy
The FAFSA online includes guides and alerts that help ensure you’ve entered information correctly. If you make a mistake on a paper application, it won’t be caught until your application is reviewed several weeks later.

Benefit #2: Simplification
The online FAFSA includes a skip-logic feature that, depending on your answers as you complete the form, will automatically skip questions that aren’t relevant to your situation–which simplifies the process and makes completion that much quicker.

Benefit #3: Speed 
By completing online, you also have the option to transfer your required tax information directly from the IRS, reducing the chance of entering an incorrect amount in a data field. And best of all, you’re information is saved, making next year’s application process faster.

Benefit #4: Safety 
If the security of your information is a concern, rest assured that the online application is very well protected and domestic Web browsers are highly encrypted.

So what are you waiting for? Apply for financial aid online today at FAFSA.gov.

What’s a SAR and When Will I Get One?

The Student Aid Report (SAR) is a paper or electronic document that gives you some basic information about your eligibility for federal student aid and lists your answers to the questions on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

After you complete your FAFSA, you should receive your SAR from Federal Student Aid. This document will be sent to the email address you supplied on your FAFSA, usually within a few days after you submit the FAFSA. If you haven’t seen it in your inbox by then, be sure to check your spam or junk mail folders. The schools you list on your FAFSA will receive your SAR data electronically and begin the process of outlining your award package, which will include the types and amounts of financial aid you’re eligible to receive.

The SAR contains all data reported on your FAFSA. Read your SAR carefully to make sure all of your information is correct. Most errors can be fixed through your FAFSA online at FAFSA.gov. If there is an error in a field you can’t access, call the Federal Student Aid hotline at 1.800.4 FED AID (1.800.433.3243), or send your question to FederalStudentAidCustomerService@ed.govail.

Your SAR will also tell you if your FAFSA has been selected for verification. If it has, you’ll be given instructions about what to do next. Supplying the information required for verification is mandatory. You can’t receive federal financial aid until the verification process is complete.

Reading your SAR lets you know what’s going on with your financial aid application before you visit a financial aid office. It can help you prepare for your visit by having any necessary documents with you when you arrive. This will save time and reduce the number of visits you’ll have to make to the financial aid office. That’s a win-win situation for everyone!

Are You Looking for Money?

Well, who isn’t? Let’s rephrase to be more specific. Are you looking for money for college? If so, you should check out UCanGo2.org where you’ll find dozens of resources to help you plan, prepare and pay for college. Here are some of the highlights:

Scholarships_ButtonsFind hundreds of scholarships organized by deadline or category, and don’t forget to check back weekly for UCanGo2’s Scholarship of the Week!

 
AYLMAre You Looking for Money is UCanGo2’s signature financial aid guide with specific information about Oklahoma’s programs. It offers information about grants, scholarships, work study programs, and student loans.

 

FAFSA_5Finish the FAFSA in 5 Steps is a step-by-step guide designed to help students and their parents submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in just five simple steps.

 

Senior_ChecklistWhether you’re in sixth grade or 12th grade, UCanGo2 is here to help you determine your next steps for preparing for college. From what classes to take to when to apply for financial aid, the high school and middle school checklists offer useful information for every student.

 

Bonus! A complete list of our FAFSA tools for students and parents, including FAFSA Facts and the Dependency Questionnaire, can be found in the resources section here at StartWithFAFSA.org/resources.

 

Who is My Parent on the FAFSA?

Financial aid eligibility can vary depending on whether you’re considered a dependent or independent student. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) requires dependent students to show their parent’s information on the form. Independent students are not required to include it. What if your parents are divorced or separated? What if you live with your grandmother? Whose information should be included?

The Department of Education provides these guidelines to explain who should be counted as a parent. Unless otherwise noted, “parent” means the legal (biological and/or adoptive) parent or stepparent. The rules below apply to legal parents regardless of gender.

    • If your parents are living and legally married to each other, answer the questions about both of them.
    • If your parents are living together and are not married, answer the questions about both of them.
    • If your parent is widowed or was never married, answer the questions about that parent.
    • If your parents are divorced or separated and don’t live together, answer the questions about the parent with whom you lived more during the past 12 months. If you lived the same amount of time with each parent, give answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months or during the most recent year that you actually received support from a parent.
    • If your parents are divorced but live together, you’ll indicate their marital status as “Unmarried and both parents living together,” and you’ll answer the questions about both of them.
    • If your parents are separated but live together, you’ll indicate their marital status as “Married or remarried,” and you’ll answer the questions about both of them.
    • If you have a stepparent who is married to the legal parent whose information you’re reporting, you must provide information about that stepparent as well.
    • The following people are not your parents unless they have adopted you: grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers or sisters, and uncles or aunts.

If you’re still unsure, contact the Federal Student Aid Center at 1.800.4.FED.AID, 1.800-433-3243.

What’s up with the FSA ID?

The Federal Student Aid Identification (FSA ID) is used to log in to certain FSA websites, such as FAFSA.gov. It’s comprised of a username and password, and it has replaced the old PIN system. If you used a PIN to sign your last FAFSA, you’ll be given directions on how to set up an FSA ID the next time you log in at FAFSA.gov.

Setting up an FSA ID is easy, and it’s strongly recommended that you set it up before you complete your 2016-17 FAFSA. Simply visit fsaid.ed.gov, click ‘Create an FSA ID,’ and fill in the requested information.

Here are a few things you need to know:

  • If you are a dependent student (see our FAFSA Dependency Questionnaire in the resources section), one of your parents will also need to set up their own FSA ID. Parents will use the same website and follow the same steps.
  • Your email address cannot be the same as your parent’s email address on the FAFSA. Make sure you have two separate email addresses before you set up your FSA IDs.
  • Because many high schools have firewalls to prevent students from receiving external mail, it’s best not to use an email address that’s been assigned to you by your school.
  • If you have any questions about the FSA ID, click ‘Help’ in the top right corner at fsaid.ed.gov. You’ll find a wealth of information there.

Don’t forget to submit your FAFSA as soon as possible after Jan. 1!

Concerned About the FAFSA? We Can Help!

If you need help paying for college next year, you should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is required if you want to explore your eligibility for federal and state aid, and is also required for some grant and scholarship programs (including Oklahoma’s Promise). By completing the FAFSA, you’re not committing to any aid—you’re simply submitting a ‘snapshot’ of your family’s financial situation so you can learn about your options.

There are many helpful resources to check into, especially if you’re submitting the FAFSA for the first time.

UCanGo2.org provides great tips on how to cover the cost of college and provides information about various types of financial aid, including grants, scholarships, state aid, work-study and student loans.

StudentAid.ed.gov provides tons of information about when, how and why to submit the FAFSA.

Check out the categories and archives listed at the left here at StartWithFAFSA.org. Many common questions have been addressed in blogs that we’ve posted in the past. While you’re here, also be sure to check out our ‘FAFSA in Five’ videos! You’ll find one in English and one in Spanish.

For more Spanish resources, visit StudentAid.ed.gov/sa/resources and scroll down the page to see a list of all the publications and videos available in Spanish

When Should I Submit My FAFSA?

The 2016-17 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) became available Jan. 1 of this year. All students planning to enroll in in college courses this year should complete the FAFSA to apply for federal and state financial assistance to help cover college expenses. But when is the best time to fill it out? We’ve answered some of the most common FAFSA timing questions below.

I’ve always heard that I should complete the FAFSA as soon possible after Jan. 1. Is that accurate?

Yes, it’s best to complete and submit your FAFSA as soon as you can after Jan. 1 to ensure you do not miss out on available aid.

I’ve taken the ACT, but plan to retake it. Should I wait until I have my final scores before submitting my FAFSA?

There’s no need to hold up your FAFSA for test scores. They aren’t used in determining your financial aid eligibility.

The FAFSA asks for my 2015 income tax information, but I won’t be able to complete my taxes until much later. What should I do?

You may estimate your tax information based on December pay stubs, or you   may also use your 2014 tax figures as an estimate. That way you can submit the FAFSA and send your information to colleges earlier. Once your 2015 income tax is completed, you will need to update your FAFSA with the correct figures.

I’ve heard there is state aid offered by completing the FAFSA. How does that work?

Many states provide financial aid and deadlines for each state can be found  at FAFSA.gov. Oklahoma offers the Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG). The deadline to submit your FAFSA and be considered for OTAG is March 1.

I’m considering three different colleges right now, but have only applied to one of them. Do I need to send in all of my college applications before I submit my FAFSA?

You don’t need to apply to schools you’ve included on your FAFSA before you submit your FAFSA. Just be aware that some schools may not award your financial aid until you’ve been accepted at their institution. You may contact schools ahead of time to ask about their policy.

The New FAFSA is Available!

FAFSA
Are you planning to take college classes this fall? Are you wondering how to pay for college? If so, you can begin the financial aid process now by submitting the 2016-17 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available as of Jan. 1. The FAFSA is the application used to obtain all types of federal financial aid, some types of state financial aid and many scholarships, too. Everyone planning to enroll at a college or university should complete the FAFSA. Even if you think you, or your family, make too much money to qualify, apply anyway! Most people qualify for something, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

It’s important to submit the FAFSA as soon as possible each year. Why? Because some financial aid programs that require FAFSA information, including some grants and scholarships, have deadlines early in the year. You don’t want to miss out on any financial aid opportunities.

Not sure where to start? Check out our video to learn how to complete the FAFSA in Five Steps or download our FAFSA Five Steps brochure.

And, remember to visit at UCanGo2.org  and facebook.com/UCanGo2 for the latest college planning information, scholarship updates and more!

Four Reasons to Finish the FAFSA

If you’re going to college next year, it’s time to start thinking about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)! Here are four reasons why:

  1. The FAFSA is used to apply for all types of federal financial aid and some types of state aid. It is also required for many scholarship programs, including Oklahoma’s Promise.
  1. Applying has never been easier. Complete the FAFSA online. Help and HintsDoing so is fast and efficient for you and the school(s) receiving your results.
  1. Help is always available. Use the Help and Hints boxes online or contact the Federal Student Aid Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243), or any nearby college or university financial aid office.
  1. You don’t have to wait long to get the ball rolling. The 2016-17 FAFSA application will be available Jan. 1, 2016. The earlier you apply, the earlier you’ll receive your results.