October 1 is just six days away! If you or your child will need financial aid to pay postsecondary education expenses during academic year 2020-21 this date is a crucial.
The U.S. Education Department (ED) is scheduled to make the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also know as the FAFSA-on-the-Web — the nation’s primary financial aid application — available on October 1, and you need to complete and submit this form then or as soon thereafter as possible.
Why submit your FAFSA so early? Because:
- Many states and postsecondary schools use FAFSA submission dates to set priorities for making awards from sources with limited funding — e.g. state and institutional grants and scholarships;
- It positions you for early financial aid offers from schools that make such offers, giving you more time to compare their affordability;
- You’ll also get more time to review, correct, and update (here) your FAFSA data on the Student Aid Report (SAR) that’ll be made available to you soon after your FAFSA-on-the-Web’s processed; and
- Finally, Louisiana and Texas now require almost all their students to complete and submit the FAFSA in order to graduate from high school, and more states may soon add this requirement.
Ensure your FAFSA-on-the-Web is complete and accurate when you hit the button to submit it. Toward this end, you need to know whether it’ll require parental information because you’re a dependent student. In general, such students were born after January 1, 1997, are unmarried undergraduates without dependents, and aren’t in the U.S. military or military veterans (see more here).
You’ll also need certain information to put on the 2020-21 FAFSA-on-the-Web for you and any parent who’ll sign it. This includes:
- Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID usernames and passwords (click here to create them, if necessary);
- Social Security numbers or, for non-U.S citizens, Alien Registration numbers;
- Driver’s License number, if you have one;
- 2018 Federal Income Tax Returns, W-2 Forms, and other earnings records;
- Most current bank statements and investment records;
- Records of untaxed income; and
- Federal School Code for each postsecondary institution you may attend in 2020-21 (look them up here).
Forget the horror stories about how long and hard it is to do the FAFSA. It’s much faster and easier than ever if you take the steps described above. So be sure your FAFSA is complete and submitted as soon as possible on or after October 1 — you have nothing to loose and everything to gain!
Need help completing your FAFSA? College Affordability Solutions is available for free consultations at (512) 417-7660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.