News

Browse All News Topics

Just the (FAFSA) Facts, Ma’am

Tips and Tricks for Filing This Oft-Dreaded Application

Mar 9, 2012

by Radha Jhatakia

Just the (FAFSA) Facts, Ma’am

For those of us who cannot afford large out-of-pocket expenses for college, financial aid is our only option. Many, if not all, universities require their students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – aka the FAFSA – which uses your family’s finances and taxes in order to best determine how much aid you get. It can be confusing but it is definitely worth your time to file the application.

Depending on the state of the school you attend and live in, the FAFSA has different deadlines. States offer different grants and scholarships as long as you qualify and apply by the stated deadline and private schools also have different deadlines for private funding which can be found on their websites. The dates for states can all be found on the print out form on the FAFSA’s website. Remember to use this official government website – other sites charge fees.

The FAFSA requires you to have a federal PIN number. To apply for one, request one from the FAFSA website. (Make sure to do this even if you don’t have your tax returns, as the PIN number sometimes takes some time to receive.) Also, a new procedure that the FAFSA has is the IRS data retrieval tool, which takes the tax information directly from the IRS database and filters it into the FAFSA. This option not only makes life easier for those filing the FAFSA but it helps college financial aid offices, as they won’t require you to turn in additional documents to verify if the information is correct.

Always try to have yours and your parents' tax returns completed as soon as possible to have your FAFSA completed on time; however, since required documents like W-2s and other federal papers often aren’t available when you need them, file the FAFSA and select the option “Will File” rather than “Already Completed” for the question asking if you have already filed the tax returns. Use the tax information from the previous year so that you can have it completed by the deadline and once your tax returns are complete, go back into the FAFSA and use the “Make Corrections” option to update the information.

Happy filing, everyone!

Radha Jhatakia is a communications major at San Jose State University. She's a transfer student who had some ups and downs in school and many obstacles to face; these challenges – plus support from family, friends and cat – have only made Radha stronger and have given her the experience to help others with the same issues. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, reading, cooking, sewing and designing. A social butterfly, Radha hopes to work in public relations and marketing upon graduation.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

Discuss

Share your thoughts and perhaps thousands of students will benefit from your unique insight on the subject!



If you can read this, don't touch the following fields


 

Most Shared Articles

One Faculty Master is keeping his free cookie tradition strong for College House residents, even while he's on sabbatical. Every Wednesday at 10 p.m., freshman line up Master Dennis DeTurck's apartment for a sweet snack and the singing of show tunes. This is only one example of the many food-centric traditions found at the university. [...]

0 months ago 0 comments Read More

Fighting crime is no easy task and is not meant for everyone. Careers in criminal justice aren't limited to police officers. You can study to be a criminal law paralegal, a crime lab analyst or even work for homeland security. If you plan to take this route, don't forget to apply for these solid scholarships to reduce debt while also doing your part to reduce crime: [...]

0 months ago 0 comments Read More

Due to Oregon's $1.8 billion budget crisis, public university leaders want funding reallocated from the Promise program to the state's need-based grant, which is awarded to low-income students who attend Oregon's public universities. [...]

0 months ago 0 comments Read More

The traditional college route isn't the best choice for everyone. There are ample scholarship opportunities for students who opt for a vocational career, whether it be in the plumbing, carpentry, electrical, firefighting or many others. If you want to learn or hone a specific skill as an alternative to attending a more traditional four-year college, take some time to consider these vocational scholarship opportunities: [...]

0 months ago 0 comments Read More

Wheaton College, a liberal arts college in Massachusetts, has created a refugee scholarship following the POTUS' immigration order in an effort to preserve their "foreign-born community." Another scholarship called The Privilege Grant, was recently created and is exclusively for white men "pursuing college on equal footing with their female, queer and ethnic minority classmates." [...]

0 months ago 14 comments Read More

February is Black History Month, or National African-American History Month, and is annually spent celebrating the achievements and contributions of black Americans in U.S. history. MLK had a dream - what is yours? Ours is helping you go to college with as little debt as possible. If that's your dream, check out these Black History Month-inspired scholarships: [...]

0 months ago 1 comments Read More

Living the college life has gotten way more expensive since 1980, and not including just tuition and fees. While many types tuition freezes, government tuition-free programs, scholarships, and grants help foot the tuition bill, housing and food remain uncovered, according to MarketWatch. [...]

1 months ago 2 comments Read More

The NFL Super Bowl is right around the corner, and while you may be enjoying the highly entertaining commercials or half-time show, we’ve compiled a list of football scholarships for those of you who one day aspire to play in the Super Bowl. If you have a passion for the game and wish to play at the collegiate level and beyond, check out these award opportunities and get paid to play: [...]

1 months ago 0 comments Read More

At elite colleges, more students come from the top 1 percent than the entire bottom 60 percent, according to a new study. While roughly one in four of the wealthiest students attend elite schools, including five Ivy League schools, graduating college helps "level the playing field for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds," according to Inside Higher Ed. [...]

1 months ago 1 comments Read More