102729287-fafsa.1910x1000FAFSA, FAFSA, FAFSA.  The form is enough to drive parents mad.

Here are some quick tips to make sure you get the most financial aid possible by filling out the FAFSA correctly.  Please note that this should be done by the parent, as it’s too complex for a high school student to fill it out accurately.

  1. Get the FAFSA turned in as early as possible after it is available.  FAFSA is usually available by October of the year that you are applying for aid.  According to the FAFSA website, “to be considered for federal student aid for the 2017-2018 award year, you can complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) between October 1, 2016 and midnight Central Time, June 30, 2018. Any corrections or updates must be submitted by midnight Central Time, September 15, 2018.”  At the latest, get it done by January as aid applications are reviewed on a first come, first serve basis and the financial aid office will have more money to give out earlier in the year.
  2. Make sure that there are no discrepancies between what you fill out on your FAFSA and the college’s own financial aid application and the College Board’s CSS/Financial Aid profile.  For example, make sure your child’s reported savings is accurate to the cents and the same exact amount on all three forms.  The worst thing is to have the FAFSA sent back to you to explain any discrepancies.
  3. Do not volunteer any asset information that the FAFSA does not explicitly ask for.  FAFSA does not ask for amount of pension that you have, for example.  Do not write in any information that the form does not require.
  4. However, make sure to fill in every line on the FAFSA.  Do not leave any line blank–always put in zero or N/A if it does not apply.

Have a great weekend, everyone!