Five tips to conquer the FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or much more commonly referred to as the FAFSA, is an annual application that both current, and future, students can apply to for student financial aid.

All students, even those who don’t think they are eligible to receive federal student aid should apply for a FAFSA. Why? Because in almost all cases, you still need a FAFSA on record to be eligible for state and college-sponsored financial aid as well. Chances are, you’re eligible for those!

So before you head into your first, or next, application, check out these five quick tips and you’ll be cruising through with ease.

Complete the application as soon as you can.

This means you’ll get your offer back as soon as possible, which in turn gives you more time to weigh your options. It’s never fun to make big money decisions under pressure!

You don’t need to be at your computer to fill out the FAFSA.

Gone are the days where you need to be glued to your computer to fill out the FAFSA. Be on the lookout for the new mobile-friendly app “My Student Aid” which will allow students to conveniently fill out their FAFSA application on their mobile device! Check out all the details here >>

Before you hit ‘submit’ make sure it’s all correct.

This should almost go without saying, but be sure to double-check (and then maybe triple-check) all your information. You want to avoid any and all delays in processing your application.

Use a school code and the tools FAFSA gives you.

Make sure to include the Lees-McRae school code (002939) and use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to import financial information from your 2017 federal tax returns. This makes imputing all those confusing numbers into the correct fields 10 times easier—promise!

Once you’re done, watch your email like a hawk.

After filing your application, make sure to check your email frequently in case additional information is needed by the Office of Financial Aid at Lees-McRae in order to continue with the financial aid process.

Need help preparing? Here are suggested documents to have ready beforehand!

Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID: Create an FSA ID online, which gives you access to Federal Student Aid’s online systems. Keep this log-in safe! You’ll need it if you have to update your FAFSA information.

Social Security numbers and/or Alien Registration Numbers for non-U.S. citizens: For both you and your parents.

A Driver’s license or other eligible government ID

Most recent tax return: You’ll need to include both you, and your parent/guardian’s tax returns.

Bank statements and other records of untaxed income: Investments? Child support? All of this makes a difference when FAFSA reviews your eligibility for aid.

Want to learn more about the financial aid process at Lees-McRae? Check it out here >>

Kimberly Paniagua is an admissions assistant and financial aid counselor in the Lees-McRae College Admission Department. She works with prospective and incoming students to transition into college.


By Kimberly PaniaguaOctober 01, 2018