Recent reports have shown that large populations of potential college students do not understand how to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), nor are they aware of the financial assistance available to them based on the application. In fact, just last week, our newsletter relayed the results of the 2006 Massachusetts College Goal Sunday survey, which revealed that more than 95% of students needed help when attempting to complete the FAFSA and that more than one-third asked for one-on-one assistance with doing so.
Students must understand and correctly file their FAFSAs in order to qualify for large loans, such as Federal Stafford loans and PLUS loans. For example, the subsidized version of the Federal Stafford loan is beneficial because the government pays for interest while the student is attending school. Also, there is a six-month "grace period" afforded to the student after graduation, during which he or she does not have to make payments. Filling out and properly filing a FAFSA does not have to be intimidating if a student is prepared.
Let's break down the steps for filling out an online FAFSA:
First, keep track of the critical deadlines and remember that individual institutions may have set earlier deadlines to receive notice of financial aid eligibility. The 2007-2008 FAFSA is the FAFSA form for the academic year beginning on July 1, 2007. An applicant can file this form as early as January 1, 2007. Filing the application as soon as possible is the best way to ensure that one receives an opportunity to be considered for limited funding.
Second, gather all the documents necessary to complete the form. According to the FAFSA website, www.fafsa.ed.gov, the applicant will need his or her Social Security number, driver's license, income tax return, bank statements, and investment records. Dependent students will need their parents' records, as well. Collecting this data beforehand makes the application process quicker and easier to understand.
The FAFSA website provides a worksheet that can be used to gather personal and parent data, which, once completed, can be copied and transferred to the web when the applicant is ready to actually file the form. Keep in mind that in order to electronically sign the FAFSA, you will need a PIN. Applying for a PIN can also be done via the website. All of these steps should be taken before completing the application.
The online FAFSA has several benefits. It offers general and specific assistance for each page of the application. Also, the online application provides access to worksheets that make automatic calculations based on data entered. Plus, using the assigned PIN to electronically sign and submit the application only takes seconds. Finally, once the FAFSA has been filed, the applicant can follow up by visiting the website and charting the status of his or her application.
Don't be afraid to request more information from an institution's financial aid office or from the FAFSA website or office. The more questions asked, the more you'll understand. Financial assistance is available; obtaining it is just a matter of knowing how to do so!
Article Title : Filing Your FAFSA without Fear
Thanks for sharing such useful information. This post is very useful for those w ho are going to file application for loan modification.
Posted By : stacey ledesma
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