If you want to get grants and federal loans to pay for your schooling, the first step is filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form serves as an application for those looking to the government for help in paying for school. The government uses the form to determine whether or not you are financially eligible for school grants.
The first step towards getting Federal Student Financial Aid is filing the FAFSA and determining what type of dependency you have. The income guidelines vary depending on your stage in life. Most students are considered dependents of their parents. Married students or graduate students will be considered differently than students who are dependents of their parents. The FAFSA website has a survey you can use to determine your dependency status. Your guidance counselor or the financial aid department at your chosen school can also help you with this process.
When you are ready to fill out your FAFSA, you will need to have access to your Social Security number, driver’s license (if you have one), and your W-2s from the previous year. If you are married, you will need the federal tax returns for you and your spouse. If you are a dependent of your parents, you will need their tax returns. If you have any untaxed income, such as Social Security income, you will need these records from the previous year. Your current bank statements are also required. If you are not a citizen, you will need your resident information. Finally, if you have any investments or business income, you will need proof of it.
Once you have gathered all of this information, you need to fill out the application. Do it carefully, because simple mistakes could cost you theschool grants you need. You can get the application from your high school, college, or the FAFSA website. You can apply online if you and your parents have applied for and received a PIN. If you do not have a PIN, you can fill in the document online, but you will need to sign a paper copy and mail it. If you wish to use the PIN to sign the document electronically, you can apply for it at www.pin.ed.gov.
Once you have completed the application, the results will be sent to your chosen school. This will be used to determine your Expected Family Contribution, or EFC. This is the amount that the government feels your family should be able to afford to pay for your schooling. You will be eligible for aid for any expenses above and beyond this amount. Your school will contact you with the information about the loans or grants that you have been offered.