12 January 2012

College How To: FAFSA Tips

High School Seniors & College Freshmen-Juniors

  1.  In the fall semester, you and your parents (or whoever files you on their taxes) need to log on to fafsa.ed.gov and create a login and a pin#. Its super easy, but you need to make sure to REMEMBER yours and your parent’s pin info. You’ll need it for four years.
  2.  When January 1st rolls around, the FAFSA for the new year becomes active, you would go in and fill it out with last years information. For example, it’s the beginning of 2012, so you put in 2011’s tax information. Unless your parents have recently won the lottery and have a huge increase of income for the year, it shouldn’t make much of a difference.
  3.  If you are still applying to colleges, put in all of the colleges you are interested in attending. This way the college you choose will definitely get you Financial aid info.
  4.  Get your EFC (Expected Family Contribution). After putting in last years tax info, and digitally signing it with the PIN#s, FAFSA will give you a number it expects your family to be able to pay based on income and assets.
  5. Relax for a month….
  6. When you parents get their W-2 forma, and are able to file their taxes, rush them.  J  The quicker you can get the 2012, or current years taxes on file, the sooner your FAFSA will be completed.
  7. 1040A in hand complete your FAFSA carefully. They’ll tell you which lines to look at and enter, but you might need help on your first time.

General Tips:

·      Never tell them how much you or your parent have in your bank accounts.
·      Complete you FAFSA as soon as you can, Financial Aid is first come first served.
o   I usually can’t get it complete until the end of February or Middle of March at the very latest. So don't freak out if you are in the same range as me. Do not let you parents procrastinate until April 15th tho!
·      Select yes for work study, and yes for on campus housing, even if you aren’t sure.

Main Types of Government Financial Aid:

·      Grants: FREE MONEY!!! You don't have to pay these back unless you drop out/get kicked out/ don't keep the required academic standard.
·      Loans: 2 types Subsidized and Unsubsidized
o   Subsidized: The government pays the interest for you until 6 months after you complete school. So you’ll have a lower amount to pay back overall.
o   Unsubsidized: You will be responsible for the interest the whole time, but you don't have to pay until 6 months after you graduate. 

Refund Checks:

 Depending on your EFC you may be eligible to receive a refund check. This refund check is the remainder of the money after you financial aid pays for school.

Lets say your school costs 7,500 a semester. You apply for FAFSA and get….
You get: PELL GRANT   2000
               LOAN (sub)       4500
               LOAN (unsub)   2000

 So your total Financial Aid is 8,500.  But your tuition is 7,500. That extra 1000 dollars will come to you in a refund check.

Things you can do with a Financial Aid refund Check:
  • ·      Be responsible and get a head start on paying your unsubsidized loans back.
  • ·      Buy your books and school supplies
  • ·      Budget it out to help pay for rent and/or food.
  • ·      Save up for a car
  • ·      Use it for dues to clubs/Greek life
  • ·      Put it towards a new Laptop
  • ·      Buy a fancy phone
  • ·      Pay the bill for 6 months
  • ·      Use to for study abroad/travel
  • ·      Get new clothes
  • ·      Give some to your parents
  • ·      High-Interest savings account
  • ·      Cash it out and roll around in it
  • ·      Go to Jamaica with it 

I hope this helped some of you out there! If I left anything you want to know out of the post, let me know. 

PS. Please click the Google Connect button to follow my blog, I would really really appreciate it :) 

Later loves, 
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