FAFSA stands for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid.” It is required for applying for all federal aid. In addition, the FAFSA may be used by schools to award institutional need-based aid. Some private scholarships use FAFSA results and the Mississippi Office of State Financial Aid uses the FAFSA for some state grants. Don’t miss out completing the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st of your senior year and before the college’s priority deadline. In Mississippi, the earliest priority deadline is around March 15. Selective out-of-state colleges may have a FAFSA priority deadline as early as February 1.
Visit the official link to the Federal Government website for all the information available: www.fafsa.gov.
Get2College can assist you with filing the FAFSA
We are glad to provide one-on-one assistance in our Get2College Centers in Jackson, North Mississippi, and on the Gulf Coast – just call for an appointment.
Checklist of items needed to file:
GATHER INFO FOR YOU AND YOUR PARENTS (if dependent student)
- Your and your parents’ names exactly as they are printed on the Social Security Card,
- Copy of your and your parents’ federal tax returns,
- Your and your parents’ driver’s license and Social Security numbers and birthdates,
- Your and your parents’ W-2 Forms and other records of money earned,
- Current bank statements or an amount of your and your parents’ cash, savings and checking accounts,
- Current business information,
- Stocks, bond and other investment records or a total amount of investments not in retirement accounts,
- Your alien registration card (if you are not a U.S. citizen), and
- Date of your parents’ marriage, divorce or separation.
Tips for filing online:
- Use IRS Data Retrieval when possible. If not possible, request the IRS Tax Return Transcript.
- A Federal Student Aid PIN and parent PIN are required to electronically file the FAFSA. You can secure PIN numbers during the FAFSA application process at the PIN Web site. The PIN request requires your name, Social Security number and date of birth. Keep up with your PIN numbers because you will need them to file the FAFSA annually— you may wish to download and print out our FAFSA Datasheet to record your PINs.
- If you choose not to sign the FAFSA electronically, you may print, sign and mail a signature page to the address provided; however, be aware that this can delay processing of your FAFSA.
- To complete the FAFSA online, go to www.fafsa.gov.
- Print your confirmation page with the confirmation number for your records.
- TIP: Did you know that you may be able to get free personal help in completing your tax return? Anyone whose adjusted gross income is $57,000 or less can file federal income tax electronically free.
After the FAFSA…
1. Initial Contact
The processed FAFSA results will be sent to the colleges you listed on the FAFSA, and the college financial aid office will determine the amount of financial aid you will receive. After completing the FAFSA, if you provided an email address, the student and the parent will receive an initial email that the FAFSA was filed. In 1-3 days, you will receive another email to let you know that the data was processed and the information was sent to the school.
2. Student Aid Report (SAR)
If you provided an email on the FAFSA, in 1-3 days you will receive an email with a secure link to access your SAR online. If you did not provide an email, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) in the mail. If the information is incorrect, it may be necessary to back into www.fafsa.gov and “make corrections to a processed FAFSA.” If you have any questions about the FAFSA process, you can call 1.800.4FEDAID (1.800.433.3243.).
3. Verification (Not everyone is selected for verification. If you are not contacted about this, see Step 4.)
Some financial aid applications will be selected for a federally required verification process. This means that you will be expected to provide supporting documentation for the information on your FAFSA. The documents requested may include but are not limited to the following:
- The Dependent (or Independent) Federal Verification Form
- Upload tax data to the FAFSA from the IRS website or provide IRS Tax Return Transcript for the applicant and/or parents. You can request a transcript online at www.irs.gov or call 800.908.9946.
The information that the college requests must be mailed back to the financial aid office at the college. The college will not make a financial aid award for you until verification is complete.
4. Award Notification
You will receive a Financial Aid Award Notification only from those colleges to which you have been offered admission. Some colleges may require additional forms for financial aid, and it will be your responsibility to complete and submit these documents. The Award Notification will tell you what you are eligible to receive in financial aid, how to accept and/or apply for any financial aid offered, and the next steps in the process. Typically, schools will allow you to accept your award online. However, you may receive an award letter by mail. You should determine which of the awards you will accept and which you will decline. When it comes to student loans, you can choose the amount that you would like to accept. There may be a deadline for accepting financial aid, and it is possible that there may be a deposit required to secure the aid.
5. Student Loans
If you accepted Federal student loans (Direct Loan or Perkins Loan), you will need to follow the college’s process for completing the Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Loan Entrance Counseling.