So have you decided to fill out the FAFSA? The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is released every year on October 1. You need to fill out a new one each year, and it may provide the grants, loans, and work-study you need to pay for school.
Our last post looked at some of the more common tricky points to watch out for. Here are three more things to help you finish your application with as little fuss as possible.
- Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). For the 2018-2019 application, you will need access to your 2016 tax return (and your parent’s if you are a dependent student) to complete your application. You may have heard in the news about some of the issues regarding the DRT, but the Department of Education has new security measures in place to protect your data.
- If you use the DRT, that data will be hidden. Part of the increased security includes data masking. Don’t get worried or concerned when you don’t see the actual figures when you import the data or look at your Student Aid Report (SAR) because the data will be masked (hidden) in both places.
- Make sure you fill out the right application for the right year. Right now there are two applications available: the 2017-2018 and the 2018-2019 academic years. If you plan to be in school in Fall 2018, be sure to fill out the 2018-2019 application. If you are planning to go to school in the summer, you should always check with the school to see which application you should complete. Schools have the option of using the current (17/18) or the next school year (18/19) application.
Remember to get your application in as soon as possible to increase your chances of getting the best award package from your desired school.
I am a Financial Coach for college students and parents. I am an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®) and received my BBA in Management from Texas State University. I help students understand their financial aid and help them develop a plan to achieve their educational and financial goals. I was a first-generation college student, so I have a personal understanding of some of the struggles students face.
Working in the financial aid industry for 13 years has given me the opportunity to work with students at different points in their life from starting college to graduating and finding a job — all the way through helping them repay their student loans and save for the future.
This service is not intended to constitute any tax, investment or legal advice. If you need investment, legal, tax advice, and/or credit counseling, please consult with a professional within those areas.
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