It’s that time of year again: Summer is coming to a close, and that much awaited crisp fall air is near. Heading back to college is a change from high school, and since the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now allowing students to file earlier, tackling that form needs to be one of your main priorities.
Being able to file for the FAFSA early is a good thing! But if you’re stressing about the FAFSA details, here are three tips to help you efficiently and successfully file for the FAFSA for the 2018-19 school year.
1. Be aware of the FAFSA’s new early submission date.
This may sound like a given, but many may be unaware that students can now file their 2018/19 FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, as opposed to the original Jan. 1 timeline. It’s vital that you apply as soon as possible in order to secure the best funding options; this is because the amount of aid available to students can be limited.
Keep in mind that it can take some time to make sure you have all of the necessary materials to properly complete your forms (like your FSA ID). It’s vital to carve out enough time from your busy schedule to complete the necessary steps so that you’re ready to file as soon as Oct. 1 rolls around.
2. Set aside time to create an FSA ID.
In order to submit your FAFSA online, you must create an FSA ID that will have a username and password associated with it. This type of identification will help prevent fraud and will allow you to confirm your identity when you want to connect to your account.
Further, an FSA ID gives you access to Federal Student Aid’s online systems and can serve as your legal signature. Once created, be sure to put the username and password in a safe place. You will need it every year that you attend school!
3. Understand how the new FAFSA deadline may benefit you.
You should get excited for the opportunity to file the FAFSA early! There are several benefits to this year’s FAFSA.
- With the older income tax information needed for this year’s FAFSA, you won’t have to estimate your tax information, and then later go back to update your information.
- You may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to automatically put your tax information into your FAFSA form. If given the option, it is highly recommended to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This may prevent additional required paperwork later down the road. If you do use this feature, you will not visually see the information that came over, but it will be there.
- Unlike the old timeline, with being able to apply for the FAFSA taking place in the fall, you now have more time to explore other financial aid options to help offset your education costs.
We understand that figuring out how to finance your education can be a stressful task, but applying for the FAFSA doesn’t have to be. We hope you’ll take note of these three pointers and let the professionals at Silver Lake College help you as you prepare to file for the 2018-19 FAFSA.