It’s FAFSA season and you
may be wondering what type of information you’ll have to include on your form.
The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, asks multiple questions
including your name, age, school(s) of interest, and dependency status, as well
as parent and student income and asset information. Since you’ll be in college
next year, won’t you be considered an independent student? Do you even need to
provide your parent’s information since you’ll be an adult when you start
college? The answers to these questions are not simple ones, they require more
On the FAFSA, many
factors determine whether a student is considered independent or dependent. The
application asks students various questions to determine their dependency
status. Dependent students must provide their parents’ information, while independent
students do not. A series of yes or no questions asked on the FAFSA will help
students determine their classification. If a student answers yes to any of the
questions, s/he does not have to provide parental information. However, if every
question in this section is answered no, parental information will be required.
This can be confusing, so here’s a simple equation to help you remember:
- All No’s =
Dependent Student (Provide parent information)
- One Yes =
Independent Student (Don’t have to provide parent information)
What do these questions
entail? They ask for a variety of information, including college grade level, age,
military status, if you support dependents, if you’re at risk of being homeless,
and many more. For additional information about the FAFSA, check out the tools
available at StartWithFAFSA.org
and UCanGo2.org, which offer a Dependency Status Questionnaire and a variety of articles, publications and videos to
assist you with the FAFSA.
If you have questions
regarding your dependency status or any items on the FAFSA, feel free to
contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800-433-3243 or your
financial aid office
October 1! That means the 2020-2021 FAFSA is available! All students planning
to start college in the fall of 2020 can now submit their application for
federal and state financial assistance. The Free Application for Federal
Student Aid, or FAFSA, allows colleges to determine your eligibility to receive
financial aid. Financial aid, which comes in the form of grants, work-study and
student loans, can help you pay for college expenses. To start your FAFSA, here
are a few tips that will help you successfully complete the form:
- Create Your FSA ID
– If you haven’t already done so, you and your parent will need to create an
FSA ID (Federal Student Aid ID). This username and password allow you to electronically
sign the FAFSA. It will also give you access to other financial aid documents
and websites. To create your FSA ID, go to fsaid.ed.gov.
- Gather Your Documents – For the 2020-2021 FAFSA, students will need their
parents’ tax return, W-2 and other financial information for the 2018 tax year.
If the student filed a tax return in 2018, they will need the same information.
Students should also gather their Social Security card and driver’s license, if
- Use Your Official Name – When creating your FSA ID and completing the FAFSA,
you’ll need to enter your name exactly as it’s shown on your Social Security card.
No nicknames are allowed on the FAFSA. If your name has special characters
include those as well.
- Pick Your Venue
– There are two electronic options for submitting your FAFSA. You can use the
website format, FAFSA.gov,
or you can use the mobile app, myStudentAid. These are the only two official means
for submitting your application. Remember the first “F” in FAFSA stands for
Free, so you should never pay for completing your FAFSA. Using one of these two
methods will ensure that you aren’t charge for a free application.
- Watch Your Inbox
– Once you submit your FAFSA, you’ll begin to receive information about your
application status and updates from your future school’s financial aid office. Be
on the look out for these updates and follow-up with your financial aid office
if they need additional documentation.
Utilizing these five tips
can save time and make your FAFSA completion much easier. Don’t forget, you
need to complete a FAFSA each year you need funding for college.
For more information
about the FASFA, check out www.ucango2.org
Short answer: Yes! No separate application is necessary, but you DO have to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply.
The Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant Program (OTAG) is a need-based grant program for Oklahoma residents who attend eligible colleges, universities and career technology centers in the state. Awards are approved for full-time or part-time undergraduate students. Children of military personnel from other states who currently reside in Oklahoma may also qualify for OTAG.
OTAG is a grant based on financial need, which is determined by the data students submit on their FAFSA. To apply for OTAG, a student simply has to complete a FAFSA. Typically, OTAG receives more eligible applications than can be awarded with available funds, so it’s important that your FAFSA is submitted on or shortly after October 1 each year.
Currently, the maximum annual OTAG award is the lesser of 75 percent of enrollment costs or $1,000 for students attending public colleges, universities or career technology centers, and $1,300 for students attending eligible private colleges or universities.
Another grant available from the State of Oklahoma is the Oklahoma Tuition Equalization Grant (OTEG). It’s a need-based grant for Oklahoma residents enrolled as full-time undergraduates at certain qualified Oklahoma not-for-profit, private/independent institutions of higher education. Students must complete a FAFSA to apply. To receive OTEG, a student must also have an annual family income of $50,000 or less. OTEG award amounts are $2,000 per academic year or $1,000 per academic semester. To see a list of schools eligible to offer OTEG awards, visit OKcollegestart.org/Financial_Aid_Planning.
The FSA ID is your Federal Student Aid ID. It’s a username
and password that you’ll use to submit your Free Application for Federal
Student Aid (FAFSA) each year that you’re seeking financial aid for college.
It’s best to create your FSA ID
before you complete your FAFSA. In fact, now is the perfect time for you to
create yours since the new FAFSA will be available October 1.
Your FSA ID can also be used to log on to other financial
aid websites. It’s your unique electronic signature, so you should never share
it with anyone—not even your parents or financial aid personnel at the college
you choose to attend. You must create your own FSA ID; parents of dependent
students should not create an ID for their children, and vice versa.
We suggest writing down the information you enter as you
create your FSA ID. The easiest way to do so is by using the FSA ID
worksheet, available in English and Spanish at UCanGo2.org. Once you’ve filled in
the worksheet, be sure to store it in a safe place. Consider putting it in the
file that contains one or more recent tax returns (yours and/or your parents’)
so you will have it handy when the next FAFSA season rolls around.
For more information about how to plan, prepare and pay for college, visit UCanGo2.org, OKcollegestart.org and StartWithFAFSA.org.
When we hear the word “free” we’re usually excited, but
then we think, “wait a minute – what’s the catch?” We’ve been conditioned to
believe that nothing is ever free. Well, that’s not the case with the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The FAFSA really is a free
application! There aren’t any gimmicks, conditions, 30-day trial periods or
necessary payments. The FAFSA is a free application that helps colleges
determine your eligibility for financial aid – money to help cover educational
expenses. In order to access this application, you’ll need to log in to FAFSA.gov. This is
the official website to submit your FAFSA. Other sites may require you to pay a
fee to submit your application, but FAFSA.gov won’t.
What else should you know about this free application? You’ll
need a username and a password to log in and sign your FAFSA. You can create
your login, also called an FSA ID, at fsaid.ed.gov. There
shouldn’t be any fees to create your login, either. Once you submit your
application, the colleges that receive your FAFSA can assist you with any
concerns you may have about your financial aid eligibility or financial aid
offer; be sure to contact them with questions. Don’t fall for scams that state
you must pay (anything!) to submit your FAFSA. Remember that no payment is
required because the FAFSA is always free!
Have you been told that the Free Application for Federal
Student Aid, or FAFSA, is only for students with good grades? What about the
myth that the FAFSA is only for those with a certain income? If you have heard these,
you have been given the wrong information. The FAFSA is for everyone who plans
on attending college. This application shows a school your eligibility to
receive financial aid, or funds to help you pay for college. Financial aid
comes in the form of grants, work-study and student loans. If you are a high
school senior, current college student or an adult learner going back to school,
you should submit a FAFSA.
The FAFSA doesn’t ask for your grades or transcripts. Instead, it inquires about your financial information to see how much aid you’re eligible to receive. Not only could submitting your FAFSA determine your eligibility for federal financial aid (grants, work-study and student loans), but it could also determine your eligibility for aid given specifically to students at your college. Other scholarships may also require you to submit a FAFSA. Therefore, put aside those legendary tales and see what financial aid you could receive. It’s better to learn that you qualify for some aid, then to completely miss it because you decided not to apply. Don’t believe the myths, learn more about the FAFSA for yourself at FAFSA.gov and StartWithFAFSA.org.
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the key you need to unlock money that will help you pay for college, vocational school or other education after high school. It’s simply a statement about a family’s financial situation, and it’s used to determine how much federal financial aid a student may be eligible to receive. You have an 85% chance of getting money for college just by completing this important form.
A new FAFSA is available October 1 each year. For high school seniors, this means yours will be ready for you to submit in October, almost a year before you begin college! You can submit your FAFSA even if you haven’t applied to any colleges yet. In fact, if you’re not sure which college you want to attend, you can request that your FAFSA information be shared with up to 10 different campuses that you may want to learn more about.
The current FAFSA is available online at fafsa.gov. If you’d like a sneak peek at the FAFSA, there are two options you may want to consider.
• The FAFSA4caster can give you a free early estimate of your eligibility for federal student aid. Visit fafsa.gov and scroll down to Early Aid Estimate.
• The FAFSA on the Web (FOTW) Worksheet lists most of the questions from the FAFSA, giving you an idea of what information you’ll need to have with you when you begin to fill it out.
Please keep in mind that neither of these tools is a replacement for the real FAFSA. You’ll still need to complete the actual form online after October 1 in order to apply for financial aid.
During the 2018-2019 school year, $2.6B dollars in federal financial aid for college was left unclaimed by students who would have been qualified to receive the aid, simply because they didn’t submit a FAFSA. You’ll never know what you’re eligible for unless you submit the application.
Back-to-school season is well underway! Before you let out a sigh of frustration because the summer flew by, decide how you’ll make this school year the best one yet. Will you be engaged in class? Will you intentionally make a new friend? Will you take on a new interest? The ball is in your court this month, so make a plan to seize the opportunities of a new school year.
To get you started on the right foot, think about joining a club or sports team. If you’re already involved in a certain activity, think about taking on a leadership role. You’ll gain communication skills and meet new people. You may also enjoy a school play or music recital. Attending different types of events like these could give you a greater appreciation for your school. Additionally, consider volunteering. Devoting some time to a cause that’s important to you is a good way to give back to your community, and you may discover a few interesting career options as you volunteer. Volunteer work can also be an asset when applying for scholarships.
Own your education this year. Challenge yourself to maintain good grades and if you’re struggling in a specific subject area, ask questions. Find resources that can help you understand difficult concepts. Conversely, if you’re excelling in a certain course that others may find tough, contemplate tutoring a few classmates. Doing this will show your concern for others and increase your own knowledge. Practice time management skills, as well. Make it a goal to turn in all assignments on time and keep the lines of communication open with your instructors. Let them know if you’ll miss a deadline.
Finally, prepare for what’s next. High school students can take FREE practice tests for the ACT and SAT to increase their scores. Free test prep material can be found at OKcollegestart.org. Seniors and college students who will need financial aid next year should complete and submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as soon after Oct. 1 as possible. The FAFSA determines your eligibility for various types of financial aid – resources to help you cover college expenses. College students can start developing their resumes. Visit your campus Career Services department to learn about all available opportunities. And all students should apply for scholarships! Whether you’re a junior in high school or a sophomore in college, it’s never too early or too late to take advantage of these opportunities. You can find numerous scholarships at UCanGo2.org and OKcollegestart.org.
There are plenty of things to look forward to as you begin a new school year. So instead of dragging your feet on your first day of class, decide that you’ll make this school year the best yet! Welcome back and have a great year!
By now you probably know that it’s important to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, but do you know what you’re actually submitting? This application allows colleges to see which types of financial aid you’re eligible to receive. Financial aid can help you cover educational expenses and comes in the form of grants, work-study and student loans.
Grants, sometimes referred to as gift aid, are need-based aid that usually don’t have to be repaid. The most common federal grant is the Pell Grant. This form of financial aid is available for undergraduate students (those who haven’t received their first bachelor’s degree). The maximum amount of Pell Grant a student can receive is $6,195 for the 2019-2020 school year. Financial aid offices will determine students’ financial need and inform them of their Pell eligibility. Another federal grant that’s available is the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, or FSEOG. Only students who have extreme financial need are eligible to receive this grant. Other grants require students to meet certain criteria. The TEACH (Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education) Grant is an example of aid that has conditions attached to it, as it requires students to take certain courses and work specific jobs. There is also the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant that’s available for students who lost a parent or guardian as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11. Eligible students should contact their school if they have any questions. Some states offer grants to their residents as well. Oklahoma has the Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant, or OTAG, for eligible state residents who will be attending an Oklahoma public or private institution.
Work-study is also a type of financial aid that can help with the costs of college. Eligible students who receive this aid will have the chance to work a part-time job and earn money for educational expenses. Undergraduates and graduates with financial need are able to receive a work-study opportunity. Talk with your financial aid office to learn about potential places, on or off campus, that are hiring.
Student loans are another type of financial assistance. Different than other aid, student loans must be repaid with interest. There are various federal loans available for students. One type is the Direct Subsidized Loan for undergraduates who demonstrate financial need. The maximum amount for freshmen in the 2019-2020 school year is $5,500, with a fixed interest rate of 5.05 percent. A fixed interest rate means that the interest won’t change over time. The federal government will pay the interest on a subsidized loan while the student is enrolled in school at least half-time. In contrast, Direct Unsubsidized Loans are not based on financial need and are given to undergraduates and graduates. Students are responsible for the interest on this loan during all periods. The interest rate on an unsubsidized loan is 5.05 percent for undergraduates and 6.6 percent for graduate students. Other borrowed aid that isn’t based on financial need is the Parent PLUS Loan. This is available for parents of dependent students who need extra assistance with college expenses. In addition, parents must also be credit worthy to qualify for this type of aid. PLUS Loans have a 7.6 percent fixed interest rate. Speak with your financial aid office to learn more details.
There are a variety of resources available to help you pay for college. Not all schools offer each program, so be sure to contact your financial aid office with any questions. For more information about grants, student loans and work-study go to studentaid.ed.gov.