FAFSA: It’s That Time Again…

…and it’s free

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Tamara Solis, Reporter

 

     The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) helps millions of students from all around the country pay for college.  Each year FAFSA offers $150 million in grants, loans and work study funds to 13 million students. FAFSA is responsible for managing student financial assistance programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Students and their families can benefit from these programs by following some procedures. First students must check for availability of the Federal Student Aid. Sometimes availability is limited and some students can’t benefit. After checking for availability, students should fill out the FAFSA and provide the financial information listed at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out. Each year the Federal Student Aid processes 22 million applications, so it may be a good idea to apply as soon as possible.The Federal Student Aid also manages student loan portfolios and  secures repayment from federal student loan borrowers, so there is no way of getting out of payment. During the financial aid process  FAFSA offers free assistance to students, parents and borrowers to help complete the process. To ensure compliance with the laws, regulations and policies governing Federal Student Aid programs, all participants in the program are monitored.

     Eligibility for Federal Student Aid may not apply to everyone though. To be eligible for FAFSA, a student must demonstrate financial need such as low income and government help etc.The Student must also be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen and they must have a valid Social Security number(with exception of students from the Republic of the Marshall islands, Federated states of Micronesia or the Republic of Palau). Registering with selective service is required, however, if the student is male he must register between the ages of 18 and 25. If the student is enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student, he or she may be eligible for a degree or certificate program. To stay in the program, students must maintain satisfactory academic process in college or career school. Student Aid Deadlines are determined by state of legal residence and the school year you are applying for. For the school year of 2016-2017, Federal Deadline for online applications must be submitted by midnight Central Time, June 30, 2017. Any corrections or updates must be submitted by midnight Central Time, September 23, 2017. Students should check with the college they’re interested in attending. Students may also want to ask their college about its definition of an application deadline, whether it is the date the college receives your FAFSA, or the date your FAFSA is processed.  If the student a non-citizen holding a Social Security card issued through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or for some other work authorization, he or she should fill out the California Dream Act Application found at https://dream.csac.ca.gov/ and should not fill out a FAFSA. Contact the California Student Aid Commission, www.csac.ca.gov, or your financial aid administrator for more information.

     If the student is eligible for Student Aid, they should begin filling out FAFSA. The FAFSA asks for personal information including ; your name, date of birth, address etc.  It also requires your social security number, your parents social security number and driver’s license if you have one. If a student is not a U.S. citizen, they need to provide their Alien Registration number. After that the student must provide financial information, including balances of savings and checking accounts and information from tax forms. If the student is filling out the FAFSA for 2016-2017, he or she will have to provide their tax information for 2015. Beginning with the 2017-2018 FAFSA, the student needs to report income information from the tax year two years prior to the academic year. Financial information is critical because it determines whether or not the student gets Federal Student Aid. If you are really interested in filling out the FAFSA, go to https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa and click “ fill out FAFSA”.