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The FAFSA season on the 2018-2019 school year is open: what you need to know

Фото: Depositphotos

Application Season for Government Scholarships for College Study (FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid) in 2018-2019 school year, 1 opened in October.

Edition Time collected information that every prospective applicant needs to know about this program.

This is the second application cycle after the US Department of Education has shifted the deadline for issuing financial assistance by three months. In 2017, the application process will look different than in previous years, thanks to some security updates, as well as to facilitate the application process.

Each FAFSA must apply.

Every applicant who intends to go to college next year must apply for a FAFSA, even if his family earns too much money to fit into the strict restrictions on state aid for education. Even if you do not receive a federal grant, most states and many colleges also use the FAFSA form to award their grants and scholarships.

Get organized

Before filling out the application, collect all the necessary information and documents.

Start by creating an FSA ID, get your tax return for 2016 year, W-2 forms and current bank statements. To apply for the 2018-2019 school year, you will need 2016 tax information. You will also need the social security numbers of the applicant and his parents.

The application process will be quite complicated.

Many applicants are frightened by rumors about the complexity of the process and 100 questions in the application before filling out the form.

In fact, the form is really long and many questions are not simple, but many of these questions do not apply to most applicants, so they can skip them. In addition, the changes made in the 2016 year make it possible to use the older tax information for the FAFSA, which also simplifies the filing of an application, since many will not yet have their tax returns for the 2017 year in place by the time of application. Previously, applicants had to make preliminary figures in the application, and then adjust it after receiving the declaration.

Pay special attention to deadlines and submit your application as early as possible.

A delay can cost you money: federal grants will not start issuing before the deadline for accepting applications for the FAFSA, but some states and colleges start giving scholarships earlier, their number is limited and goes to the first eligible applicants. Pay attention to the deadlines for submitting applications for financial support on college websites, as well as in state and other student assistance agencies.

It is best to fill out a form and submit an application before Christmas, especially for residents of Illinois, South Carolina and Washington, here the state provides financial assistance to applicants whose applications were received first.

There are auto-complete options in the FAFSA application, but this process has changed.

For several years, FAFSA applicants could use the IRS data retrieval tool to automatically fill in income information from the applicant's tax returns, which were automatically transferred to the FAFSA application. The tool was a high priority because it allowed applicants to skip a few questions from the FAFSA application, reducing the time spent filling out the form and avoiding many of the errors that could be made when filling out manually.

But in March 2017, this tool was removed after fraudsters attempted to use it to steal claimants' information. Now the autofill system works differently, so to say “blindly”. Now you will not see on the screen your tax data that is transferred to the FAFSA from the IRS, but simply receive a notification of the completion of the transfer of data from the IRS. You will not be able to view or change this information, so it is important to know that your tax return was filled out without errors.

It is not yet clear whether colleges will adjust the timing of issuing financial assistance.

After the FAFSA in 2016 had postponed the start of filing three months earlier, many applicants wondered if the dates would change colleges. Then applicants would be able to get all the information they need about pricing and assistance earlier, which would simplify the choice of a college.

Until now, most colleges have not made changes. 21% moved the deadlines for issuing assistance one to two months earlier, and 15% municipal colleges did the same.

Therefore, applicants 2018-2019 of the year have the opportunity to receive letters of financial assistance from colleges until December 2017 of the year.

Read also on ForumDaily:

Where in the US get a free higher education

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college Educational program FAFSA education in the USA
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