How to FAFSA

By Bailey Linton on January 3, 2019

It's everyone's favorite time of year again as it is time to register for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

For those of you that don't know, FAFSA is the regulated federal student aid that the majority of students use to help pay for college. It can affect many aspects of funding given such as federal grants and state aid.

It's an incredibly important part of so many students' lives (including mine), but the process of filing can be overwhelming at face value. This post is meant to inform you of how to register online, apply and receive financial aid from FAFSA.

1. Register

To begin the FAFSA, you'll have to find your way over to https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/. Once there, you will be asked to create an ID with a username and password that you will keep with you during your years as a college student.

This next part may be the most crucial: DO NOT FORGET your ID and password. It is incredibly easy to forget an ID and password you only use once a year, but the process to change your password is way more complicated than a reset email.

My mother and I go through this every year and end up having to struggle through answering a million vague security questions. Don't be like me—save your codes or you'll have to remember things like the make and model of your third cousin's second bicycle.

Alright, I'm exaggerating a bit, but you get the picture.

Once you've created the ID and password, you are ready to start the application.

2. Apply

Before you start the application process, you're going to need a couple of items handy. You'll need your social security number (or alien registration number if you are not a U.S. citizen), tax returns and W-2.

If you are still being claimed as a dependent by your parents (which is the majority of us), then you will need their tax returns and W-2s. It may also be effective to have them help you through steps of the application as you go. At age 21, I still sit down with my mom to do the FAFSA together.

This process will take a good 45 minutes, as they require a lot of information, so make sure to set aside a decent chunk of time to complete the application.

At the end, you will be asked where you would like your FAFSA information sent. Select Cornerstone University using school code 002266 so that the grant money given to you can be recorded by our Student Financial Services Office. Otherwise, you may get a reminder call.

3. Follow-up

Take an active interest in the grant money being awarded to you. The FAFSA is incredibly important, but it is not going to cover every aspect of college that is offered in tuition or room and board.

Make sure you find out how much FAFSA has gifted you for the year and then work with the Student Financial Services Office or your admissions counselor to learn about making decisions on loans. Be careful not to take out more than you could afford to pay back as well.

Conclusion

The FAFSA is an incredibly important aspect of financial aid that could help you save thousands of dollars in tuition. Cornerstone is dedicated to helping make university attendance affordable, so if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to our Student Financial Services Office.

The deadline for turning in the FAFSA to CU is March 1, so make sure you take advantage of this opportunity for financial aid!

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Category: For Parents