5 things to keep in mind as you apply for financial aid

We’ve been talking a bit about financial aid this month and thought it would be important to point out that there are some things you need to keep in mind when you file for financial aid. These suggestions come from The Huffington Post.

  1. If you’ll be filing the FAFSA electronically,obtain a PIN, which you’ll use to electronically sign the FAFSA once you complete it. Also, gather all of the school codes for the schools you want to list on the FAFSA (for example, ours is 008815). Write them down ahead of time so you’ll have them handy when you fill out the FAFSA.
  2. Gather everything you’ll need before you get started, including federal tax return, social security numbers of parents and student, student’s driver’s license number, current bank statements, investment statements, mortgage information, untaxed income statement, veterans’ benefits, child support received, etc.
  3. Make sure you answer all the questions. If a question doesn’t apply to you, insert a zero or N/A, whichever is appropriate. You don’t want to leave anything blank.
  4. When you file any form, keep a copy for your records. Also, make note of the date when you submitted it. If you file electronically, you usually will get a chance to get a copy of the form with a time-date stamp. If you mail your FAFSA, use delivery confirmation. You’ll need these records if questions arise about when you submitted your form.
  5. Consider if there is anything occurring in your household that may affect your ability to help pay for your child’s education that isn’t included on the financial aid forms — for example, if you know you’ll be laid off or your hours will be reduced this year.  Let the college know about your situation through a special circumstance notice. Colleges have the ability to adjust your Expected Family Contribution based on such a situation.

Financial aid experts suggest families apply for financial aid even if they think they may not be eligible. Don’t assume you make too much money or that you won’t be eligible for some other reason.

Next: Helping your college student manage debt


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