Pay for School
Completing the FAFSA
Every year students from around the country participate in a ritual that generates the same anticipation as a dental check-up. Whether you want a campus job or government loan, the first step is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The form may be daunting at first (it has the look and appeal of a tax form), but Kaplan has the tools to walk you through the process step-by-step.
The Basics for Completing the FAFSA
The FAFSA is the standard form required to receive any financial assistance from the U.S. government. Pell Grants, Federal Work Study, Stafford, Perkins and PLUS loans all require a finished FAFSA. The Department of Education will examine your basic financial information (household income, etc.) to determine the amount of support to which you're entitled.
Once you've submitted the form, you'll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). If you've filed electronically, the SAR will arrive by e-mail as fast as a week after submission. If you didn't complete the electronic process correctly or filed a paper application, the SAR will arrive by post office two to three weeks after submission.
After you confirm that all the information is correct, the Department of Education issues you an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This figure represents the amount of support the government expects your family to provide for college expenses. Your school will receive a copy of the SAR three days after final processing.
Each college's financial aid department determines how their students receive assistance (check, automatic deductions on tuition bills, etc.). However, your school is required inform you of all its aid procedures and deadlines, particularly how and when you will receive your aid and/or work study. Make sure you follow-up with your aid office so that you know what to expect and when.
The Information You Need to Complete the FAFSA
To successfully complete the FAFSA, you'll the need the following information at the ready:
- Social Security Number
- Driver's License
- Income Tax Return
- Bank Statements
- Investment Records
You'll also need your school's Federal School Code number, which you can look up here. Your financial aid office should have all the proper forms and answers to your questions, or you can refer to the Department of Education's FAFSA website for more resources.