You’ll get tired of hearing about the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Well, get over it. This is the big one, the first and most important part of any college financial aid strategy. Anyone interested in going back to school should fill out the FAFSA online between Oct. 1 and April 15 to qualify for state and federal financial aid for the next academic year. You’ll file the FAFSA every year to keep receiving financial aid.
Complete it as soon as possible to maximize opportunities with colleges that might have early financial aid deadlines.
Just go to FAFSA.gov. It’s free and usually takes less than 30 minutes. To get started, you’ll create a Federal Student Aid identification number (FSA ID) at FSAID.ed.gov. Then you’ll include the following information:
- Driver’s license number, if you have one
- Social Security number (and SSN for your parents if you are a dependent)
- Information about untaxed parent and student aid (child support, interest income, veteran benefits)
- Information about assets (investment, savings and checking account balances) and business or farm records, if applicable
- Your federal tax forms (1040EX, 1040A, 1040 and/or W2s) and your parents’ forms if you are a dependent.
- Your alien registration number, if you are not a U.S. citizen