Tips for Filling Out FAFSA

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

By: Ashmar Mandou

October marks an important time for college-bound students as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2018/2019 academic year becomes available. According to a recent Discover Student Loans survey, while 74 percent of parents say they are worried about having enough money to help pay for their child’s college education, only 45 percent of parents filled out the FAFSA last year. Among the reasons parents don’t complete the FAFSA is that they earn too much to be considered for financial aid. Another possible reason many parents and students fail to complete a FAFSA is completing the application is no simple task. In order to alleviate the process we are sharing some tips on filling out the FAFSA.

Before you apply, gather the following important documents:

• Social Security numbers for students and parents, or Alien Registration Numbers for non-U.S. citizens.

• Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID -create an FSA ID online, which gives you access to Federal Student Aid’s online systems.

• Driver’s license or other eligible government ID

• Tax returns for students and/or parents

• Asset records such as bank statements and investments

• Records of untaxed income, such as child support

• Federal school codes for the schools you will apply to

It is also helpful to avoid these common mistakes:

• Leaving blank fields–enter a ‘0’ or ‘not applicable’ instead of leaving a blank. Too many blanks may cause miscalculations and an application rejection.

• Using commas or decimal points in numeric fields–always round to the nearest dollar.

• Entering the wrong federal income tax paid amount–obtain your federal income paid amount from your income tax return forms, not your W-2 form(s).

• Listing Adjusted Gross Income as equal to total income–these are not the same figure. In most cases, the AGI is larger than the total income. This mistake is particularly common.

The deadline to submit the 2018/2019 FAFSA is midnight Central Time on June 30th, 2019, but do not wait until the final hour to complete the form. The official FAFSA website is and it is always free to complete the application.

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