Mom, and FAFSA, and Me, Oh My!

by Shamara Ware
(Houston, Tx, USA)

February is almost rearing its’ head, so we all know what time it is, FAFSA time! This year I know I’ll be prepared, will you? As a word of advice that I've been taught from several members in my family, make sure you keep all of your ducks in a row. So, you’re looking for a few hints, pointers, answers to your questions about the “ugly” of filling out a FAFSA application?


First, grab a parent, preferably your mother, and if your mother is not around grab someone’s mother! Why? Well, a mother seems to have more patience that your typical fathers figure. Your mother can provide you with all of your necessary documentation to complete this stressful application. Your paper work will be in order, any tax information will be provided through her, and she will provide the “stress relieving snacks”! My mother always seems to have her ducks in a row, which seems to make the process go a little smoother and fast. Also, she makes sure to double-check the information that we input onto the application to ensure the questions are answered correctly.

Second, make sure you, the student, have all of your information together. If it’s your first time applying for FAFSA you’ll need everything high school and college related. For example, you’ll need to know your G.P.A, any important test scores, expected graduation date, and have a list of prospected universities or colleges you’ll consider to attend. An individual should discuss with both parents ahead of time if you will stay home or on campus. All of the factors that are mentioned above will show up on the application, and since you've been warned you’ll be ready to answer those questions. Also, you should look up the school codes which will cut the time of the application as well.

Last, organization is a MUST! I cannot stress organization enough when mentioning the FAFSA application process, because without it the process can become stressful on an individual. Go over the application before submitting the application, so you won’t have to go back and make correction, which will cause a delay in the process of your application.

To conclude, first grab a parent, get yourself prepared and organized with what you, the student, will need, and keep your paperwork organized. Also, to mention, if an individual’s parent files their taxes ahead of time that could cut down the application time of the FAFSA. Now get ready, get set, and go get organized because FAFSA will be here before you can say, FREE APPLICATION for FEDERAL STUDENT AID!

Read more FASFA Hints from other students and parents who have been through the FAFSA process.


Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Tamara for you great tips on getting your ducks in a row to complete your FAFSA. Most high school seniors and college students will need a mother or other patient adult to help them complete the process and check the paperwork. Thanks again for sharing your best tips for the FAFSA application.

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More Best Tips for Filling out the FASFA

FAFSA | FAFSA Hints | Expected Family Contribution
| Dependent or Independent Student | Parental Income on FAFSA | FAFSA Official Website | Printable FAFSA Application | FAFSA Application PIN Number | FAFSA Application | FAFSA Deadline | FAFSA Correction

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Oh joy, it's FAFSA!

by Brittany Franklin
(Staten Island, New York)

Most people say that when they grow up they want to become a doctor or lawyer, while others just want to be successful in life. But, what most people don't know is that in order to achieve their goals, they have to attend college for an extensive amount of time, which can be very pricey. This might be fairly easy for a rare amount of people, but for most people, this will be financially challenging. A person's eligibility for financial aid can make a big difference on whether or not achieving their goals will lead them to financially difficult times. Most people would enjoy saving some cash, and would love to receive money from the government that they DO NOT have to pay back. Unless you are receiving a loan, of course.

Don't get me wrong, just because a person applies for financial aid, doesn't mean that the person will be eligible to receive funds from the government. There are multiple "FAFSA savvy" hints that can help make sure you receive some sort of money from the government to help pay off college expenses, whether it's $100 or $1,000. Money is money, and when you are receiving free money, you should be jumping for joy!

When it was time for me to sit down and fill out my financial aid application , I made sure I was prepared and ready to "go to war." I had my parent's taxes from the year before, and of course my parent. This leads to "FAFSA savvy" hint number one. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A PARENT AT HAND. This is a very important hint because your parent will be able to help you with most questions you have pertaining FAFSA. Also they will be there to supervise and make sure you are filling out your FAFSA application correctly.

When using your parent's taxes from the year before, you MUST go back to your application when your parent has updated them. This is "FAFSA savvy" hint number two. In order for you to receive financial aid from the government, your taxes must be up to date.

"FAFSA savvy" hint number three. While filing for FAFSA, make sure you are filing under your parent who receives the least amount of wages. This is not cheating at all if your parents are together. If your parent's are separated, file your financial aid under the parent you have lived with for the majority of time. If either one of your parents pay child support, make sure that you fill in the correct amount of money in the box entitled for child support.

Last but not least, "FAFSA savvy" hint number four. Make sure you check your zeros! You do not want to alter your chances of receiving FREE MONEY from the government just because you made a minor mistake on your application. Even though the mistake is minor, it can conclude in a major reason why you may not be eligible for financial aid.

While you are applying for financial aid, take your time! There is no rush, but there is a deadline . If you make a mistake, don't worry. You can always go back and fix it. Check over your application multiple times and brace yourself for your results.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Brittany for sharing your FAFSA Savvy hints. Having a parent handy is a great hint.

I do want to comment on your hint number 3. There are very specific rules about reporting income from your parents, and choosing the one who makes the least amount of money is not allowed. If your parents are married and together, both of their incomes will count, and the FAFSA application will be compared to the IRS records. Some students of divorced parents “switch” the parent that they claim they live with and – no big surprise here – they almost always switch to the parent who earns the lower income. This will increase the chances of you being audited and denied aid. So it pays to be honest.

Check out our tips on the FAFSA process on the links below. Good luck.



Tips on FAFSA Process

FAFSA | FAFSA Hints | Expected Family Contribution
| Dependent or Independent Student | Parental Income on FAFSA | FAFSA Official Website | Printable FAFSA Application | FAFSA Application PIN Number | FAFSA Application | FAFSA Deadline

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Applying for Financial Aid

by Melissa
(Minnesota)

Gathering the funds for college can be a stressful time. Students will find that there are many ways to apply for financial aid, but filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) seems to be the most common.

During my senior year of high school I filled out the FAFSA for the first time. I thought it would be really confusing, but it actually was simple. I filled it out online and the website gave me hints along the way, which made it easier for me to understand. The form asks about how much money my parents and I made in the last year, what school I would be attending, what my parents' income tax figures were, among other things.

At first I was really stressed about it because I had no idea how much money my parents made. However, once I asked my father to help me fill out my FAFSA it went much smoother and seemed so simple. Although I myself did not receive any financial aid from the FAFSA, completing the application has left me with hints and advice for other students.

I have many hints for students when it comes to the FAFSA. For one, do not assume you will not get financial aid. Fill out the FAFSA! Also, do not wait to fill out the FAFSA until your parents' taxes are done. I would recommend filling it out as soon as you have the chance because the colleges you apply to will be able to access your financial aid information sooner. When the money that FAFSA awards runs out, then the money is gone and you will not be able to get any financial aid. My next hint is to check your state's deadline for filling out the FAFSA application . The deadline varies from state to state. Don't leave anything blank either, unless you absolutely must. Every answer you put down gives you more of a chance to receive financial aid. And lastly, make sure you enter the colleges you hope to attend because each will give you an amount for how much financial aid you could receive.

I cannot stress how important it is to fill out the FAFSA. Fill it out as soon as you can and insert all of the accurate information. It is easy and can be so beneficial! Thank you for your consideration.

Read more FAFSA Hints and Financial Aid Advice from other students and parents who have been through the FAFSA process.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Melissa for sharing your FAFSA hints for applying for financial aid. For dependent students, the process involved information from the student and parent, a team effort. Don’t try to do it alone! Also, many students miss out on state grants because they miss the state deadline for the FAFSA. Best of luck to you.

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More FAFSA Hints

FAFSA | FAFSA Hints | Expected Family Contribution
| Dependent or Independent Student | Parental Income on FAFSA | FAFSA Official Website | Printable FAFSA Application | FAFSA Application PIN Number | FAFSA Application | FAFSA Deadline

Submit your entry in our College Essay Contest:

To share your entry in our scholarship contest, just click here.

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to FAFSA Hints.


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