The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is an important part of preparing for college. High school seniors should start filling out the FAFSA starting in October so there’s plenty of time for students and their parents to prepare for the application. It’s important to complete the FAFSA accurately because it will determine the amount of federal and some state financial aid students can receive.
There are several steps to filling out the FAFSA, some of which you need to complete before you even start the full application. It can be a challenging process if you’ve never done it before, so at UCanGo2.org we’ve put together a series of FAFSA Learning Modules for students and parents to review. These modules are designed to help you better understand the FAFSA and what you’ll need to complete it successfully.
Module One: Gather Your Information will show you everything you’ll need to complete the FAFSA. Families will need to gather federal income tax forms, W-2’s, bank statements and a few other documents. It’s important to have all of this beforehand, or it could slow down your application process.
Module Two: Create an FSA ID walks students and parents through the process of creating a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID for the FAFSA itself, which is a necessary step for accessing and submitting your FAFSA. It’s wise to do this a few days before starting your FAFSA. Hang on to your FSA ID because you’ll use it each year you complete the FAFSA.
Module Three: Complete Your FAFSA helps you successfully fill out the FAFSA application and submit it in a timely manner. Module Three can help with some of the challenging questions, as well as offer helpful hints to assist you in understanding what the FAFSA is requesting.
Module Four: Sign and Submit will explain how to finalize your application, add your FSA ID and submit the FAFSA to Federal Student Aid for processing. No one wants to complete their FAFSA and then submit it incorrectly, so be careful to read through this module and take your time so you don’t miss out on a great opportunity to see how much financial aid you can receive for college.
Module Five: Follow Up will show you what to expect after you’ve submitted your application. It discusses the Student Aid Report (SAR), when you should receive it, and what to do if you have any questions or need to make corrections after you’ve submitted the FAFSA.
The FAFSA is your first step in applying for financial aid to help with college expenses. It’s important that you submit the FAFSA as soon after Oct. 1 as possible each year and use the official website, StudentAid.gov. Let our FAFSA Learning Modules guide you through the process to ensure you successfully receive the most financial assistance for college that you can.
You’ll find the FAFSA Learning Modules and other helpful tools on financial aid for college on the StartWithFAFSA.org Resources page.