Financial aid can be a confusing business. Deadlines and taxes and forms and … it can be a lot, especially for a new student who hasn’t dealt with having to apply for financial aid before.
Terri Vasquez, the financial aid director at Ivy Tech’s Fort Wayne Campus, and Yahoo! Finance have some tips to help you navigate:
- Don’t complete your forms too late. FAFSAs—Free Application for Federal Student Aid—were released Oct. 1. Filling out the forms right after the release date helps families work through the financial aid process without having to rush.
- Check and double check the student’s name, parent’s name, social security number, and date of birth. Too often, applicants type in wrong info, which can cause problems with the application.
- Not all families qualify for FAFSA, but last year, $2.7 billion in free federal aid went unclaimed because qualifying families didn’t submit their applications. Don’t assume your family makes too much money to receive aid. Learn more about your Expected Family Contribution from the U.S. Department of Education.
- Keep your FAFSA password handy. Many families give up on FAFSA because they lose their passwords. It can take up to three days to reset a new password, but make sure you do it. Figure out your dependency status at the education department.
- Be sure to check “interested in work study” on your application. This gives students on-campus work opportunities with tax benefits as a subsidy for college costs.
- Even if you pay your own bills, file your own taxes, and live by yourself, you may still fall into the category of a dependent student and will need to provide your parents’ financial information. Be sure to follow those guidelines.