FAFSA now available for 2018-19 school year

Posted on October 3rd, 2017

As of October 1, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now available for families and students applying for financial aid for the 2018-19 academic year.

Current high school seniors as well as college freshmen, sophomores and juniors will need to fill out the FAFSA to receive federal financial aid for next year.

Complete the FAFSA ASAP

Students and families are advised to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible to maximize their chances of receiving financial aid. Many states and colleges award aid on a first-come, first-served basis, so your best bet is to get it in ASAP.

And since early decision deadlines for colleges fall in November, submitting the FAFSA early will help ensure you’re able to get your financial aid award from any colleges you apply to early.

If this is your first year applying for financial aid, you must create an FSA ID — one each for the parent and student — to fill out the FAFSA. We explained how to create an FSA ID in our blog post.

In some cases, you’ll need to wait up to three days before you’re able to use your FSA ID to complete the FAFSA, so we recommend registering early.

If you applied for financial aid last year, your FSA ID stays the same. If you don’t remember it, you can retrieve your username and password on the FSA ID website.

Use 2016 tax info for 2018-19 FAFSA

Once a parent and the student each have an FSA ID, you can complete the FAFSA at fafsa.gov. Beware of lookalike websites — make sure you only provide your information to the website ending in .gov.

Because the FAFSA is now available sooner than in many past years, families are expected to use 2016 tax data when filling out the form.

When filling out the FAFSA, you can use the IRS Data Retrieval tool to quickly fill in tax information from your 2016 tax returns. The tool was taken down earlier this year due to a security issue, but it’s now back up and running for the 2018-19 FAFSA.

Fill out the FAFSA every year

The biggest mistake families make when it comes to financial aid is not filling out the FAFSA, and billions in free money for college goes unclaimed each year due to this error.

Filling out the FAFSA is the best way to ensure you get financial aid for college. Remember, you need to fill out the form for every year that you’ll need financial aid.

Even if you think your family makes too much money to qualify for aid, you should still complete the form because many factors are taken into account when determining financial aid.

Also, you may be eligible for merit-based scholarships from your college even if you don’t qualify for need-based federal financial aid.

We help families maximize their financial aid packages and save money on college. If you’d like personalized help with the financial aid process, call our experts at 1-888-234-3907 or send us a message.

Category: Financial Aid News

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