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FAFSA 101

An Introduction to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
by

Jana Willan

on 2 January 2013

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Transcript of FAFSA 101

Apply for a "PIN" A "Personal Identification Number" is
necessary in order to electronically sign
the FAFSA.
It also allows you to monitor any loans
received through the "National Student
Loan Database" (NSLDS).
Acquiring a PIN is easy and quick:
- Go to www.pin.ed.gov! Frequent Questions about Filing What are some common questions or
mistakes when parents and students
submit FAFSAs to schools? Results Process - The school will prepare an award offer with
any need-based and/or non need-based aid
off of your "Expected Family Contribution"
number (EFC) which is determined by your FAFSA.
- Federal aid includes grants and loans, but
state and insititutional aid (which includes select scholarships) is also determined by the FAFSA.
- You will receive communication from the school(s)
to which you have been admitted and have sent
the results. Processing times may vary, so feel free
to contact the particular college in question.
- Compare the award offers that you receive against
the "cost-of-attendance" for the school.
- Keep a close eye on what schools consider "direct
costs" and "indirect costs". One school may include
transportation, but another may not. Try to make the
expenses across schools as apples to apples. This way you'll know exactly what your award offer will cover.
- Keep in mind that your out-of-pocket expenses will not be the contribution number that you see - drill down the numbers to ensure that you are getting an accurate representation of how much you'll be paying each semester/term. Complete the FAFSA Worksheet FAFSA 101 Free Application for Federal Student Aid - Get organized:
- Know which schools you will be sending the results to.
- Know your schools' priority filing dates.
- Be prepared:
- Have all federal tax information handy or estimates if necessary in order to make filing date for consideration of scholarships.
- "Free Application for Federal Student Aid" - www.fafsa.ed.gov
- Never pay to fill out the FAFSA!!
- There is a free help line - 1-800-4-FED-AID
- All students should fill out the FAFSA at least for the first year.
- File online - It's much quicker!

Why file online?
- There's a built-in guide to help you complete
the application.
- "Skip Logic" automatically skips questions that
don't apply to you.
- Schools that you list will receive your results
much more quickly

You can also request a paper version by calling the help line (1-800-4-FED-AID) or print a
PDF off of the FAFSA website (www.fafsa.ed.gov). - It is an organizational tool to help make filing easier.
- It will ask you and/or your parents questions like your social security numbers, driver's license numbers, federal tax information for the year leading up to your application year, records of untaxed information, and assets such as savings, investments, and business assets.
- After completing the worksheet, you'll be ready to sit down at the computer and input the information quickly.
Full transcript