Pursuing higher education is an integral component of securing your dream job, whether you aspire to own a booming bakery or concoct new gourmet dishes at a Michelin Three-Star restaurant. However, once you receive your admissions letter to Kendall College you still have plenty of work to do. Filling out your FAFSA is a crucial step to securing the most financial aid you can each year, and avoiding simple mistakes is important.
Make the most of your education by graduating with as little debt as possible. Follow our guide to learn how to fill out a FAFSA without making costly errors:
- Waiting to File: Many students assume that if they file by the June deadline that they’ll receive whatever financial aid they qualify for, but this is not the case. There is a limited pool of federal aid and your amount can shrink the longer you wait. Submit your completed FAFSA as early as you can at the beginning of the year to receive more aid, suggests NBC News.
- Not Creating a FSA ID First: In order to log in to many Department of Education websites (including fafsa.gov) you will need an FSA ID. Two facts to keep in mind: you and your parent will need to create separate IDs if you’re a dependent student. In addition, you should create your ID a few days before you intend to fill out your FAFSA according to the Department of Education. Once you register for an FSA ID you may not receive it for up to three days.
- Paying Money: Filling out your FAFSA and submitting it online is completely free. If you’re asked for a method of payment before or after the process of filling out your FAFSA you are on the incorrect website, and potentially could have fallen victim to phishing fraud. The Department of Education recommends you always check that you’re on fafsa.gov before proceeding.
- Not Reporting Stepparents: Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is determined by the financial strength of the parents and guardians that will be expected to contribute to your education. If your custodial parent has remarried this includes your stepparent. NBC News advises all prospective students read the parent guidelines so you know exactly who to report in your case, as many students live in unique situations.
- Leaving a Field Blank: Making one simple mistake on the FAFSA is all it takes for your eligibility to be in jeopardy. Don’t plan on filling out a portion of the FAFSA unless you have the time to fill out each field without being rushed. As Fastweb recommends, leave enough time to double-check each page of your FAFSA before you submit it. If a question does not apply to you insert a “0” instead of leaving the answer field blank.
The FAFSA website contains an in-depth Q&A so that students and parents know what to report. Do your research and follow these guidelines to submit a FAFSA that will help you obtain the strongest financial aid package. Don’t forget to check out our Tuition Assistance page to explore all the awards, scholarships, and tuition reductions available at Kendall College.