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How to Fill Out the FAFSA Application Online to Get Federal Student Loans

April 11, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 142

Federal Student Aid can help pay for secondary education beyond high school to eligible individuals. It is federally funded financial assistance to help students and families pay for college. The FAFSA application is free and the benefits will last a lifetime.

To apply for financial aid, an applicant must fill out a FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This application will determine eligibility for receiving financial assistance for college based on the data provided, which includes personal information, income, parent's income (if applicable), spouse's income (if applicable), dependents, assets, housing situation, and any other government programs participated in by the applicant.

The FAFSA can be completed quickly and easily online. It is split into sections and there are helpful directions and tips for each question. It is necessary to have the federal tax return from the previous year in order to fill out the financial section of the FAFSA.

Section One - Student Personal Information:

This section requires the legal name, current address, social security number, date of birth, telephone number, driver's license state and number, email, citizenship status, marital status, state of legal residence, gender, information regarding any conviction for the possession or sale of illegal drugs that occurred while receiving any form of federal student aid, parents' education level, high school information and completion status, student classification for the upcoming school year, degree or certificate working towards, and whether work study should be considered.

Section Two - Student Financial Information:

This section requires information contained on the tax return from the prior year. It conveniently directs the applicant to the precise lines on the federal tax return that contain the information requested. Spouse's income is included in this section as well. The applicant must also list the total value of family assets, including cash, checking and savings accounts, real estate investments (excluding the home where the applicant currently resides), and businesses or investment farms (excluding family businesses or family farms that have less than 100 full time equivalent employees).

This section also requires the applicant to disclose any education credits received, child support paid for children not living at home, other taxable earnings like Federal Work-Study, other taxable student aid such as grants or scholarships, any taxable combat or special combat pay, or any cooperative education program income. Information regarding untaxed income will also need to be reported here, including payments made to tax-deferred savings plans or pensions, IRA deductions and payments for self-employed applicants, child support received (excluding payments for foster care or adoption), any tax-exempt interest income, untaxed IRA distributions or pensions (excluding rollovers), living allowances paid to military, clergy, or anyone else, non-education Veteran's benefits, and any other untaxed income (worker's compensation, disability, etc.).

Section Three & Four - Parent Determination:

The questions in this section will help determine whether the applicant needs to include parent information when applying for financial assistance. If the applicant can answer "yes" to any of the 13 eligibility questions in this section, they are exempt from needing to include parent information and can skip this section entirely. If the applicant answers "no" to any of the 13 questions in this section, they must have their parent(s) fill out Section Four, which will ask similar information of the parents as it did for the applicant.

Section Five - Household:

This short section asks how many people are in the applicant's household and of those people, how many will be college students during the year the applicant is applying for federal aid. It also asks if anyone in the household is receiving any federal benefits, such as TANF, WIC, SSI, food stamps, or free/reduced lunches. The final question of this section is whether the applicant is a dislocated worker.

Section Six - Schools:

This section is solely for entering the colleges or universities the applicant is interested in attending.

Section Seven - Signatures:

This section is for the applicant and their parent (if applicable) to sign, verifying all information presented is true and correct.

It is important to fill out a FAFSA as soon after January 1st as possible since federal financial aid and college grants are distributed on a first come, first served basis. The application process is simple and easy to follow, albeit time consuming since it requires many details about income and financial information. The FAFSA will calculate the applicant's EFC - expected family contribution. This amount will determine the applicant's financial need and whether the applicant is eligible to receive federal financial aid.

Once financial aid is awarded, it will be distributed first to the college or university the applicant is attending and will go towards paying tuition, fees and books. Any remaining funds that are unused will then be distributed to the student directly.

To learn more about Federal Grants and aid for college be sure to visit the website which features in-depth guides and resources on numerous topics such as pell grants, college grants for women, grant money for adults and seniors, grants for minorities, and much more.

Source: EzineArticles
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