For many, the expenses of college or technical school can be overwhelming. But, with financial aid programs, tuition, room and board, books, and other college-related costs can become more affordable. To determine if your student qualifies for financial aid, you must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, by the deadline.
You must file your FAFSA earlier to receive your aid before the start of the school year. You only need to complete your FAFSA once for all types of aid you may be eligible to receive. Remember that
FAFSA deadlines vary for federal, state, and institutional financial aid. You need to remember the two most important dates are the open date, usually October 1, and June 30, the closing date.
The federal government gives students a deadline of June 30 after the school year in which they need aid. For instance, June 30, 2023, for the 2022-23 school year or June 30, 2024, for the 2023-24 school year to file the FAFSA. Check on state and institution deadlines as they may differ from the federal deadline.
Documents you need for the FAFSA
Before applying for the FAFSA, you'll need information from these documents:
- Your tax returns and W-2 forms
- Records of untaxed income, such as child support and interest income
- Records of assets, like savings accounts and investment accounts
- Social Security numbers of your student and both parents
How to Submit the FAFSA
Once you're ready to apply for the FAFSA, follow these steps:
- Visit http://www.fafsa.gov
- Create a Federal Student IDA or FSA IDA.
- Answer each question thoroughly and accurately.
- List the colleges, technical schools, or universities your student is considering.
Be sure to submit the FAFSA before the deadline, June 30, 2023. However, the earlier you submit your FAFSA, the better your chance of receiving specific financial aid, such as grants.
Next steps after the FAFSA is submitted
Once you complete your FAFSA application online, the Department of Education will take 3 to 5 days to process it. Here's what happens next:
- A student summary report (SAR) estimates what your family is expected to contribute (expected family contribution or EFC) towards your student's education.
- FAFSA shares your SAR report with up to 10 schools.
- The financial aid office considers the SAR information to calculate your student's financial aid:
- The Cost of Attendance (COA)- The COA estimates tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, etc.
- Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)- The EFC is based on a unique formula that involves your family's taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits.
- The financial aid office will subtract the EFC from the COA to determine the amount of need-based financial aid your student needs and how much they may receive.
- Your student receives their FAFSA award letter.
You can modify FAFSA information
If you receive no aid or see errors, you can correct and resubmit your information. Or, if you need more financial assistance due to a change in your family's situation, you can update the FAFSA before the corrections deadline.
Your financial professional can help
Your financial professional may provide assistance with completing the FAFSA and answer any questions. They can help you design a strategy for funding your student's higher education.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
This article was prepared by Fresh Finance.
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