College Financial Aid Information
Financial Aid Information for Seniors and Parents
All college bound students must complete the Free Application for Federal and Student Aid (FAFSA). All colleges and universities require this form to be completed because it is intricately tied to all money your child may receive to go to college, including scholarships. I have provided some basic information for you concerning this process.
When do I apply?
As soon as you have received your previous year’s tax information in January, you need to begin completing the FAFSA. It is important to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible so your child does not miss out on lucrative scholarships and other monetary awards offered by colleges.
How do I begin?
Go to the FAFSA website www.fafsa.ed.gov and read through the information. Then go to the toolbar on the top of the page and click on “Apply for a PIN.” It is usually a good idea for both the student and the parent to have a PIN number. This way both parties can enter information and view the status at any time. The PIN number is a security measure and a requirement for completing the paperwork. After receiving your PIN number, you can do the actual FAFSA worksheet. The information on the website provides step-by-step instructions. If you have the information listed below handy, getting the form completed is fairly simple. You will have to resubmit financial information every year you child is attending college.
What information will I need to do the paperwork?
Social security number
All current W-2 forms and other records of money earned by the student and parents.
current Federal Income Tax Returns for the student and the parents
current untaxed income records: veterans’ benefits, child support received, workers’ compensation
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 US citizen)
Why am I being asked this information about my finances?
The government has numerous grants, loans and scholarships, and each one has specific criteria students and parents must meet in order to be awarded that money for college. You child’s monetary award provided by the government is based on these financial records. Individual colleges also use this information to award students money to attend their institution based on financial need. The end result of this paperwork is an Estimated Family Income number or EFC number. This number tells the government and the schools how much money your household is able to contribute towards your child’s education. Obviously, a low EFC number is best because that means your child will be awarded more financial aid by the government.
Where else can I go for help?
The FAFSA website has a toll free number to call for help, and the financial aid office at the college your child is planning to attend can also assist you.