Applying for Financial Aid

Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is your key to applying for assistance for college costs. Experts recommend taking advantage of the new, web-based FAFSA system, which generates a completed Student Aid Report (SAR) in about four or five business days. If you do not have reliable Internet access, you can still file your FAFSA using a paper form, but it could take weeks for your application to be processed.

To complete the FAFSA, gather the following documents:
  • Your Social Security card.
  • W-2 forms from work conducted during the previous calendar year.
  • Current pay stubs from employers for whom you presently work.
  • Any other receipts or records of income earned this year or last year.
  • Your previous year's income tax return. If you are married, include your spouse's return.
  • Your parents' previous year's income tax returns, if you are a dependent.
  • Your bank statements from this year and last year.
  • Records of any current investments or business holdings.
  • Make photocopies of all your documentation and store them in a secure file along with a printout or a photocopy of your completed FAFSA. You may need to reference this information quickly if you are required to verify it.
  • Admissions counselors recommend that you file your FAFSA as early as possible, so the financial aid office can use your SAR to generate a competitive financial aid package. Admissions counselors increasingly compete for your business using private scholarships and grants. Without the SAR, they cannot make accurate bids. Private scholarships may require their own submission forms, or they could also use the FAFSA. Check with your prospective school's financial aid counselor for details on opportunities to apply for local or regional scholarships.
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