FAFSA and Pennsylvania Students: Be Ready October 1st
Are you, or is your child, college-bound after this academic year? To prepare for this upcoming major life event, in addition to college applications, there’s another form you need to fill out this fall –the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Why fill it out?
The FAFSA is required in order to qualify for federal student aid, federal student loans, work-study programs, or grants. The U.S. Department of Education uses the FAFSA to determine your eligibility for federal aid. The form is also used to determine school and state financial aid. You will find out how much aid you qualify for in your Financial Aid Package from each school when you receive your admission letter.
It’s available soon – what do I need?
The FAFSA will be available for future college students to fill out this Sunday, October 1st. You can use 2016 tax information to apply (W2s, federal income tax returns, and other records of earned income), so get all of that handy, in addition to other important information including:
- Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
- Your Social Security Number
- Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
- An FSA ID to sign electronically
While you are completing the form, you can apply for a Pennsylvania State Grant. Simply complete the Pennsylvania State Grant Form online right from the FAFSA confirmation page. Select “Start your state application—Click here if you want to apply for Pennsylvania state-based financial aid."
Note: Pennsylvania residents must file the FAFSA by May 1, 2018 to be considered for the PHEAA Grant.
FARFSA or FAFSA?
“When I was at College Prep Night for my high school senior, I could have sworn the counselor wrote FARFSA, not FAFSA, so I thought there was another form I needed to know about,” says Daniella Deal, a Citadel employee. “Turns out, it could have been a typo. No need to fear, there is only one FAFSA.”
That’s right. There is only one FAFSA that you need to worry about, per child, each year. Don’t forget that you need to fill out the FAFSA for every year financial aid is needed.
- Not all scholarships are created equal: Some scholarships are very rewarding, but it only applies to freshman year, and will not be included the other years – meaning your family must make up the difference. So, be sure to read all of the details when you receive any scholarship.
- Loans need to be repaid: When you receive your aid award package, you will see loans listed with the grants and scholarships. The loan amount is how much in federal student loans you qualify, which of course must be repaid with interest to the U.S. Department of Education. Once you graduate, you will have a federal student servicer for that loan.
- Financial aid is first-come, first-serve: Fill out the FAFSA as early as possible. Schools have different admission deadlines, and sometimes give financial aid to the earlier applicants.
For more information, visit FAFSA.ed.gov.