The filing deadline for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid www.fafsa.ed.gov is February 1.
Although June 30 is the government deadline, many schools such as Boston U, Brandeis, and Carnegie Mellon go with the February 1st filing deadline, too. You may not be eligible to receive certain merit scholarships and/or school financial aid if you don’t apply on time. Always check with the college admission office (go online or call—they’re happy to respond). Certain merit-based scholarships are linked to your FAFSA application.
Who should fill out the FAFSA? EVERY family, no matter what the household income, if the student is going to be eligible for aid.
There’s no cost involved, and no strings attached to application submission, no matter the outcome. We always hear from parents who are wonderfully surprised when they learn of their child’s eligibility for aid! Whether you take it or not is up to you.
There is NO cost involved in applying.
You don’t even have to check the financial aid checkbox in the Common Application in order to use the FAFSA.
Remember that this is a government document, long and involved, much like the IRS 1040. Have your ducks lined up. That is, have all your documentation ready when you start to fill it out. The on-line site will explain what that information comprises, and we’ve given you a list below. You’ll need time to complete it, so plan now! Don’t wait until January 31st!
You can obtain several free publications about the FAFSA, including Completing the FAFSA, an introductory publication for students that provides instructions for the FAFSA. Really positive phone help from FAFSA people is readily available, so pick up that phone.
Important! Just as you do with your IRS 1040, be certain that you double-check all the data in your FAFSA application before submitting..
Here’s what you’ll need:
A FAFSA account with FAFSA pin. Get one at FAFSA.gov.
Financial information for the previous financial year.
Students filing for the 2011-2012 FAFSA need documentation from tax year 2010. If you don’t have your W-2 tax forms from 2010, estimate by using pay stubs, then file a FAFSA correction later.
- Your Social Security number. Correct entry is crucial! Remember, we’re dealing with the federal government.
- Your driver’s license (if you have one)
- Your 2010 W-2, and 1099 forms, along with any other records of earned income
- Your (and your spouse’s, if you are married) 2010 Federal Income Tax Return.
- IRS 1040, 1040A, 1040 EZ
- Foreign Tax Return, or
- Tax Return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federal States of Micronesia, or Palau
- Parents’ 2010 Federal Income Tax Return (if you are a dependent student)
- Your 2010 untaxed income records
- Current bank statements
- Current business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bond and other investment records
- Alien registration or permanent resident card (if you are not a U.S. citizen)