By Lauren Grimaldi
When the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid became available for the 2016-2017 school year. Students at universities throughout the whole country rush to file theirs as soon as is humanly possible in hopes of maximizing their aid.
In fact, more than two-thirds of college students receive financial aid to assist them in paying for their education, according to The College Board. Nevertheless, the process of actually filling out FAFSA forms can be tedious and decidedly nerve wrecking. However, a litle research goes a long way, and there is a plethora of information out there to help maximize the aid received.
There are some very common mistakes students may make when filling out the form.
“A lot of students unfortunately make the mistake and fill in that they are independent students, when they are actually dependent students and need to fill out their parent’s information,” Assistant Financial Aid Direction Javier Padilla said. “That could make a huge difference.”
Edvisors.com advises students to file their form right away to ensure they receive accurate aid. Additionally, the use of the IRS Retrieval Tool confirms to your school that the information you are using is indeed accurate and that lessens the probability of complications with your application as well.
“I would suggest filling out [FAFSA] as soon as you can, use estimates,” Padilla said. “Obviously most students have not filed their taxes by now so use your estimates from the previous year. Once you have filed, then go back and update if you can by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. That ensures that the information is coming from the IRS and we know that it is accurate.”
At Roosevelt, the Financial Aid Office will run workshops throughout February that will assist students with filling out their application and will work to help them avoid any mistakes that would change their financial award.
“We are going to be having what we call FAFSA Fridays,” Padilla explained. “We will be helping students with completing their FAFSA and help them try to avoid those common mistakes.”
The FAO meetings to help students fill out their FAFSA will be held every Friday in February from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in AUD 280.