Growing up, I am sure you have heard it time and time again: practice makes perfect. When it comes to financial aid for college, your FAFSA cannot be anything less than perfect (for your wallet‘s sake!). In order to avoid delays or miss out aid you qualify for, why not practice?
While applying online is faster and easier, using FAFSA’s paper application is a great way to practice. This form is available for download at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The paper FAFSA is a great way to gather your information for when you complete your online form. This form asks the exact same questions as the online application and is a great reference for when you complete your “real” FAFSA form. The online form will make reference to the questions on the paper form, so once you are sure you have the practice form correct, you can simply plug in your answers on the online application. Assuming you review your paper practice form once and then the online form once, you should be good to go, error free! This paper FAFSA form is a great planning tool.
The United States Department of Education is now offering an online tool called FAFSA4caster. This tool allows your to estimate your eligibility for student aid early, allows you to transfer your information from the FAFSA4caster to the online FAFSA application once you are ready to apply, provides you with your PIN number, increases your knowledge of financial aid, and allows you to determine your expected family contribution using various financial situations. Check it out at: www.FAFSA4caster.ed.gov.
The federal government makes it possible to complete your FAFSA error free and with ease. Taking advantage of these tools will save you time and possibly give you a greater amount of aid. Practice this year and next year you will fly through your FAFSA application. After all, practice really does make perfect.