Filling out federal forms is always scary. But if you’re applying to college – whether you want need-based or merit-based grants – filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an absolute must. This year brings some big changes to the FAFSA. For students applying for admission to the 2017-2018 year, the new FAFSA opened October 1 of 2016, and it requires you to use tax information from the 2015 tax year.
The FAFSA is meant to be easy, and for many families it is. The Department of Education has a video explaining how you can fill it out (see below). But for many families, the FAFSA can be tricky, and filling it out correctly is critical. Under many circumstances, the way you answer questions on the FAFSA can make a big difference in the amount of aid your child receives. For example:
- If you are divorced, legally separated, or separated from your spouse, but not legally disconnected.
- If you (or your child’s other parent) have remarried, or live with a new partner.
- If someone in the household qualified for certain federal programs (like free or reduced lunch or food stamps).
- If you own a business or a farm.
- If you own real-estate other than your home.
- Other circumstances that make your tax situation or federal student aid situation unusual.
For families who need help, LifeLaunchr’s FAFSA package can help. One of our coaches will assist you in all aspects of filling out and submitting the FAFSA, from
- Obtaining an FSA ID
- Gathering and organizing documents
- Filling out the form and retrieving tax data electronically from the IRS
- Submitting the FAFSA and letters of explanation to colleges if necessary.