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FAFSA First

Posted at 2:12 PM, Dec 17, 2018

LANSING, Mich. — The 2019-2020 FAFSA application has been available for 2 months, and schools are working hard to make sure that all of their seniors have completed the FAFSA. As of November 23rd, 26% of our seniors in Ingham and Eaton Counties have completed the FAFSA! This has been achieved by schools holding financial aid presentations and completion workshops where college advisers, teachers, counselors, and other school staff or community members assist students individually complete the FAFSA. We know that if our students fill out the FAFSA, they are much more likely to go to college and claim grants and scholarships that are greatly needed! We want our students to get as much of the money they are eligible for as possible. Last year $2.6 billion of Pell Grant Dollars went unclaimed in the U.S. That is a lot of free money that could have gone towards tuition that our students missed out on.

Here are some tips on filling out the FAFSA to make sure you don’t miss out on free money:

  1. Fill out theFSA ID for both the student and parent. This will be your official, electronic signature needed to login and to sign the FAFSA. Make sure to write this down in a secure place because you will need to fill out the FAFSA for each year the student is in college, and the FSA ID will be needed.
  2. If you are not living with both of your biological parents, here’s a guide to figure out whose information to use on the FAFSA: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/resources/fafsa-parent-text
  3. If you are applying to go to college in Fall of 2019 or Winter 2020, you will need to fill out the 2019-2020 FAFSA. You will need to use your 2017 taxes.
  4. If you are applying to go to college in Fall of 2019 or Winter 2020, you will need to fill out the 2019-2020 FAFSA. You will need to use your 2017 taxes.
  5. Make sure the name and social security number line up with what is on your taxes.
  6. Use the IRS Data Retrieval tool if you can. It will pull your tax information directly from the IRS and put it on the FAFSA. This will save you a lot of time!
  7. Include all of the schools that you have applied for already or plan to apply to. This will allow you and your family to make an informed decision on where to attend based on your financial aid packet.
  8. Fill out the FAFSA by March 1 to get the maximum amount of financial aid in Michigan (some schools might have different deadline, make sure to check with them).
  9. After you have submitted the FAFSA, make sure to watch your emails/ college accounts to see if you need to verify any information. It’s important to get these documents to the schools asap in order to get your financial aid award letter!
  10. If you have questions, reach out to your College Adviser, High School Counselor, or reach out to a financial aid office of your choice!

Many families are reluctant to fill out the FAFSA because they don’t want to share their information or because they believe they “make too much” and won’t qualify for aid. The information put on the FAFSA is only used to determine how much much aid (whether that’s grants, scholarships, work study, or loans from the government and your college) a student is eligible for and is not used for any other purpose. We encourage all families to fill out the FAFSA, regardless of income level, because even if a student is not eligible for a need based grant or scholarship, they can still qualify for loans. Also, many scholarships, regardless if they are need based, require the FAFSA to be filled out in order for a student to be eligible. This includes the Lansing Promise, and the Tuition Incentive Program (TIP). We encourage all families to fill out the FAFSA so that all possible financial aid options are available to the student.