How to Finish the FAFSA, Step 2: Create an FSA ID

FAFSA Step 2If you’ve completed the first of the five (fairly fast) FAFSA steps and have gathered materials  needed to complete the FAFSA, then you are ready to complete step 2 and create an FSA ID.

“FSA ID” is just a fancy acronym for a username and password. To create an FSA ID, visit fsaid.ed.gov and follow the prompts onscreen. Parents of dependent students will need an FSA ID of their own for the FAFSA, too.

Once you have an FSA ID, save it somewhere safe! You will need your FSA ID to sign the FAFSA online and to access information about other financial aid programs as well.

How to Finish the FAFSA, Step 1: Gather Materials

FAFSA Step 1Did you know that you can finish the FAFSA in five (fairly fast) steps? It’s true, and the 2017-18 FAFSA will be available Oct. 1! So now would be a great time to complete the first step by gathering materials. In order to complete the FAFSA, students (and in many cases their parents) will need the following information and items:

  • Social Security card
  • Driver’s license
  • W2 forms and tax returns specified on the FAFSA
  • Current bank statements
  • Dependency status

Not sure about your dependency status? Our handy dependency questionnaire will help you determine your status.

Remember to keep all of information you’ve gathered in a safe place until you’re ready to complete the FAFSA. If you complete your FAFSA in a public area, keep your documents hidden and safe to prevent identity theft.  Be sure to clear the browser on any public computer when you’re done to ensure no one is able to electronically access your information.

 

Four Reasons to Complete 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. Use gov to apply!
  2. Applying has never been easier. Complete the FAFSA online. Doing so is fast and efficient for you and the school(s) receiving your results.Help and Hints
  3. 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.
  4. You don’t have to wait long to get the ball rolling. The 2017-18 FAFSA becomes available Oct. 1, 2016. Submit the FAFSA as soon as possible for priority consideration for some types of financial aid.

 

What’s Changing with the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is new and improved and will be ready for you faster than ever! Students and parents now have the opportunity to complete the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, as soon as Oct. 1—three months earlier than before! The earlier you apply, the better, as some financial aid options may be exhausted later in the year.

Another update to the FAFSA makes the process even more convenient. Families will now use tax information that they should have already filed. This means families won’t have to update the FAFSA after they file taxes next year. Use the chart below to find out which forms are right for you.

FAFSA Completion Chart

To complete and submit the FAFSA online, students and parents will both need to create an FSA ID (Federal Student Aid ID) at FSAID.ed.gov. This username/password serves as your signature on the FAFSA and student loan applications and allows you to access other federal aid websites. It can be beneficial for families to create their FSA IDs now in order to speed up the FAFSA application process in October. Once the FAFSA is available, it can be completed online at fafsa.ed.gov.

Grants and Work-Study and Loans! Oh My!!

As you prepare for college, you will start to learn all sorts of new words and acronyms like Pell, FSEOG, and OTAG. Applying for college and financial aid is confusing enough, so how do I make sense of these crazy words?

Federal and state financial aid programs are great, but what’s the difference in each type and what do they mean? You should receive information from your college financial aid office explaining these programs, but here’s a brief rundown for you.

Federal Pell Grants are awarded to eligible undergraduate students who haven’t earned a bachelor’s or professional degree. The Pell Grant doesn’t have to be repaid and the maximum amount awarded for the 2016-17 academic year is $5,815.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are awarded to students who also receive a Federal Pell Grant and usually have the highest financial need. These grants do not have to be repaid.

A Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant is a little different from the Pell or FSEOG grants because you must take certain classes and then work at a certain type of job to receive this money. If you don’t, the TEACH Grant can turn into a loan and then it must be repaid. These programs can offer students up to $4,000 a year if they qualify.

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant provides money to college or career students that do not qualify for a Pell Grant and lost a parent or guardian, who was a member of the U.S. armed forces and died in military service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11.

Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for eligible students on a college campus or in an approved nonprofit organization or public agency. Students work a specified number of hours each week and typically earn minimum wage.

William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program offers Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans. Direct Subsidized Loans are made to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need. The Direct Unsubsidized Loans are also made to eligible undergraduate students, but the student doesn’t have to demonstrate financial need to be eligible for the loan.

The Direct PLUS Loan is offered to parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for their educational expenses.

The Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG) is offered to eligible Oklahoma residents who attend eligible college and career technology centers in Oklahoma.

All federal and state programs are awarded based on eligibility provided on the FAFSA application. Be sure to apply as soon after October 1 as possible.

Check with your school’s financial aid office if you have questions or to determine if they participate in these programs. For more information, visit UCanGo2.org or StudentAid.ed.gov.

 

What’s all the hype about the FAFSA? Why is it so important?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an application submitted to the federal government. It’s basically a snapshot of your financial situation. The information you submit on your FAFSA is used to determine how much federal and state financial aid you may be able to receive to help you pay for college.

Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for financial aid, submit your FAFSA anyway. It’s not uncommon for students to assume they won’t qualify, only to be pleasantly surprised to find that they are eligible to receive one or more types of aid. Keep in mind that many scholarship applications now require a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR), which is the report you receive after you submit your FAFSA.

By submitting the FAFSA, you’re not automatically signing up for student loans or committing to any colleges. You’re simply giving the college(s) you’re interested in attending an opportunity to discuss your financial aid options with you. So be sure to fill out the 2017-18 FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1 this year. Visit FAFSA.gov for more information.

What if I’m still not sure which college I want to attend next year? Can I still submit my FAFSA?

That’s a great question! With all the different types of schools to choose from, it’s not always easy to decide where to begin your higher education.

One of the best ways to narrow down your college choices is to visit different campuses. Summer is the perfect time to check out the schools that interest you. Still can’t decide? It’s OK to put more than one school choice on your FAFSA; in fact, that’s a great idea, because if you’re shopping for the best fit, you can use the FAFSA to compare the colleges that you’d like to know more about.

Once you have some colleges in mind, use the ‘School Code Search’ option at FAFSA.gov to find the 6-digit school code for each college that interests you. Enter the codes one by one, clicking ‘Add’ after each code that you choose. Once you’ve added all of your codes, click ‘View Selected School Information,’ and you’ll see a customized table that displays information about all of your selected schools side-by-side. This tool is another great way to compare colleges.

New Release Date for FAFSA

The new FAFSA filing date is October 1. Learn more at Start With FAFSA dot org.
The new FAFSA will become available Oct. 1 this year.

Question: What’s new and improved about the FAFSA for the 2016-17 school year?

Answer: College students and high school seniors will be able to submit the FAFSA beginning October 1, 2016, instead of waiting until Jan. 1, 2017. Learn more about these changes at StudentAid.gov.

Stay in touch and we’ll keep you informed!

  • The upcoming changes to the FAFSA offer numerous benefits for students and parents. As more information becomes available, we’ll share it with you here at StartWithFAFA.org.
  • Like us on Facebook for information about a wide variety of scholarships and college planning tips for students.
  • Visit us at UCanGo2.org for an abundance of information about planning, preparing and paying for college.

How to Get a Head Start This Summer

If you’ll be a senior in high school this fall you may already be showing early signs of senioritis*. You’re probably busy wondering where you’ll go to college, what classes you’ll take, and whether or not you’ll live on campus. While going to college or a career technology center is a great new chapter in your life, don’t forget about one of the most important things… paying for it!

The one form you’ll need to apply for federal financial aid and some state aid is called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application will be available Oct. 1 this year. Submit the FAFSA as soon as possible for priority consideration for some types of financial aid.

To electronically sign and complete the FAFSA online, you and your parent will each need an FSA ID (Federal Student Aid ID). The FSA ID is a username and password that you’ll use to access your FAFSA, make corrections, access income tax documents and sign the form. Creating your FSA ID takes about 7-10 minutes, so why not do it this summer? Here’s what you do:

    1. From a secure computer go to the Federal Student Aid website.
    2. Create a username and password, and enter your email address.
    3. Enter your name, date of birth, Social Security number, contact information and challenge questions and answers.
    4. Review your information, and read and accept the terms and conditions.
    5. Confirm your email address using the secure code, which will be sent to the email address you entered when you created your FSA ID. Once you verify your email address, you can use it instead of your username to log in.

You can use your FSA ID to sign a FAFSA right away. Only the owner of the FSA ID should create and use the account and you should never share your FSA ID.

Now you’ve completed one important step in the FAFSA process. Hang on to the FSA ID information to use in early October when you complete your FAFSA. You’ll also use the FSA ID in future years, so be sure to save it somewhere safe and somewhere you’ll remember it.

*Senioritis: Noun
A supposed affliction of students in their final year of high school or college, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance.
“I try not to let my grades suffer from my senioritis”

There’s Still Time

With finals just around the corner, and graduation coming up in a week or two, have you put college on the back burner? Maybe you aren’t even sure you want to go to college or a career tech. Whatever you’re thinking, just know that it’s not too late! While it’s best to apply to college and complete financial aid applications early, you can still accomplish these tasks.

Talk with your school counselor about your best options and check out some classes offered at a nearby community college or career tech. These types of schools are typically less expensive and could open your eyes to some great career opportunities you may not have considered.

Some colleges and technology centers also offer discounted or free tuition to students who have attended a particular high school or live in a certain area. Your counselor can share information about these options. If you have the chance to attend college for free … take it!

You’ll also want to apply for financial aid to help with some of your educational expenses. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to apply for federal and state aid for college. Go to www.FAFSA.gov to complete this form and submit it online.