‘Tis the FAFSA season!

4 Jan

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Starting January 1 students and their parents have been able to file their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the U.S. government vehicle for determining how much and the various kinds of financial aid that can be offered, based on financial need–mostly grants (free money), work study (work at a job, usually on campus–nontaxable), and student and parent loans (must be repaid).

The first step in this process is to obtain the Federal Student Aid (FSA) I.D. for both the student who will be attending college in Fall 2016 and the parent(s). The FSA I.D. replaces the four-digit PIN number. This FSA I.D. will be even more secure because students and their parents will provide a personalized username, password and FIVE security questions of their own design.

Because of the addition of the personalized security questions and a later verification via email/website, this process takes longer, and financial aid officers at colleges are emphasizing the importance of getting the FSA I.D. for both student and parent(s) done in ADVANCE.

The I.D. is needed for both the student and parent to sign the FAFSA electronically.

Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov to get the FSA I.D. taken care of and to do the FAFSA, for which you will need your 2015 income information as well as current info of assets.

NOTE: The California deadline for the FAFSA is March 2 for four-year college students (later for others–but keep the first-come-first-served idea in mind!). Leave a comment here if you want to know your state’s deadline (private colleges will have their own deadlines–check with the financial aid departments).

NOTE FOR ATHLETES: Colleges will want you to do the FAFSA, so that they see you are being proactive about accessing all kinds of financial aid–not just the sports scholarship.

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