Federal Student Aid, part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the largest provider of student financial aid in the the U.S. Completing the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the first step in the process towards receiving some of this federal aid towards college, career school, or graduate school. Completing the FAFSA is free, and all you have to do is follow the simple steps. The FAFSA is important because many schools use it to determine eligibility for state and school aid.
*HESAA Customer Careline 609-584-4480
1) Apply for a FSA ID. You will need this to apply for aid and to access your Federal Student Aid records. Both student and parent must each have their own PIN!! Parent uses the same PIN for all children.
2) FAFSA now uses “prior-prior” year. This means you would use your income tax returns from 2 years before you intend to begin college (ie. You will use your 2015 tax returns to fill out the 2017-2018 FAFSA. State deadline is June 1, Federal deadline is June 30). *The FAFSA is now available to file beginning October 1st*
3) Make a list and be aware of financial aid priority dates and deadlines. Some schools may require an additional financial aid form to determine an applicant’s eligibility for endowment monies.
4) Complete the FAFSA online. This is much faster and easier than by mail as it has prompts to help you avoid making mistakes.
*Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to transfer IRS data into FAFSA whenever possible.
*Be sure to list a New Jersey school first
Be Careful. Common Mistakes:
-Student’s name as it appears on the Social Security card, SS number, date of birth
-Parent section vs student section
-Number of people in household
-taxes paid vs taxes withheld
-Parental and student assets (“Zero” is a number)
-High school completion status
-College level for incoming freshmen
-submitting all required signatures
5) If the colleges you are applying to require a CSS PROFILE, file that form as early as possible.
After you’ve filed:
You should receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) that will provide your eligibility index for federal and state aid. If there are errors, make corrections online.
Keep a look out for financial aid offers sent by colleges- with or shortly after letters of acceptance.
Components of Award Packages
1) State and Federal Grant/Scholoarships (Need, Merit)
2) Federal campus-based programs
3)Institutional Aid (Need, Merit)
4) Federal Direct Loans (must be repaid) (Subsidized, Unsubsidized)
5) Outside Sources of Aid
6) Private/Supplemental Loans
Click here for types of aid and more information
College Planning Resources:
— www.collegescorecard.ed.gov — Get data on colleges’ graduation rates, earning potential, student debt averages, ability to pay off debt and find jobs
— Estimate your financial aid with this Financial Aid Calculator
— Each school should provide a Net Price Calculator on their Financial Aid page. This isn’t exact, but can give you a good estimate.
— NJEI Calculator (njgrants.org) – use this tool to estimate your Tuition Aid Grant Award
EVENT: FAFSA Day
DATE: 12/10, 3/11
SITE NAME: Ramapo College
Address: 505 Ramapo Valley Road Mahwah, NJ 07430
Time: 9am- 2pm
DETAILS: Free assistance in completing the FAFSA
Remember: Always make copies!!
Much of this information, and much more, can be found at: http://www.hesaa.org/Pages/StudentsParents.aspx
Information you may find helpful: