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What Every Student Needs to Know About FAFSA

Oct 30, 2007
The FAFSA is the starting point of almost every kind of student financial aid in the United States. Ever wonder who is the largest provider of financial aid is? Well, it's the federal government.

Every year, it gives out more than $70 billion in grants, loans and work-study awards to millions of students. No matter who you are, you simply have to complete the FAFSA, which stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

You can find the FAFSA online, at high schools, at most libraries, or at a college financial aid office. It will list the deadline of June 30th, but our school's deadline may be in early spring. You should get it in as soon as possible after January 1st.

You will need tax forms in order to fill out this form and if you or your parents have not completed them, you should estimate the information and make the corrections later. It is very important that you get the form in on time before the money is allocated.

Even if you're applying to 12 schools, you need only complete one FAFSA. Make sure that you submit all required forms and paperwork requested. It's best to beat the deadline if possible. Certain types of aid are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Applying online is the fastest way to submit your form and get your results. You will need to request a PIN number from www.pin.ed.gov. Also, filing online can help you catch mistakes quickly and make the corrections. There are other need-to-know facts about FAFSA.

If you are a male, be sure that you have registered for Selective Service. If you're over the age of 18, male and have not registered for Selective Service, your FAFSA will be rejected. Don't lie on your FAFSA.

The government randomly flags a certain percentage of FAFSAs to verify. If they find out that you lied, you can lose your aid, and be charged with a federal crime. If your parents are divorced, the parent you lived with the most in the last tax year is the one whose income you will use.

Once you have submitted your FAFSA, it goes to the Central Processing System (CPS). The CPS uses the Federal Methodology to calculate your results and create your Student Aid Report (SAR).

This is then sent to you, your schools, and your state aid office. Keep a copy for your records. Regardless of the school, certain aid will be available to you as long as you qualify, such as: Pell Grants, Direct Loans, and Federal Family Education Loans.
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