January Newsletter: Free, Must-Have FAFSA Guide | Ask the Edvisor | FAFSA Deadlines
Free, Must-Have FAFSA Resource Now Available
As you probably know, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is your gateway to federal, state and school financial aid. The 2014-2015 form has been available for a just few weeks, so you still have time to prepare.
Our trusted financial experts have written a comprehensive guide that will help you:
- Maximize eligibility for student aid
- Avoid common errors
- Complete the form quickly, easily and accurately
Ask the Edvisor: Your Questions, Answered
Q: My parents won’t complete their 2013 federal tax return before April 15. How can we complete and submit the 2014-2015 FAFSA by each school’s deadline date if our taxes won’t be ready?
Here is the answer, from the premier expert on financial aid and “edvisor,” Mark Kantrowitz:
A: It is important to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1, because many colleges and state agencies use the FAFSA to award their own financial aid funds and some have very early deadlines. Some even award aid on a first-come, first-served basis.
Do not wait until you have filed your federal income tax returns or been admitted to a college or university to file the FAFSA. Instead, use estimates of your income and tax information for the FAFSA. Base the estimates on the last pay stub of the year, any W-2 and 1099 statements and the previous year’s federal income tax returns.
Try to estimate your income as accurately as possible, since errors in the income figures can lead to a big change from the initial to the final financial aid award. After you file your federal income tax returns, you will be required to update the information on the FAFSA.
You can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to transfer the information from your federal income tax returns into the FAFSA. Not only will this ensure a more accurate result, but it reduces the likelihood that your FAFSA will be selected for verification.
Our goal here at Edvisors is to help you make the best decisions about your college or university education. Part of that is answering your questions about student financial aid. We’ve added a new section to our website that will feature your financial aid questions and Mark’s helpful advice. Submit your question to be included in Ask the Edvisor.
Don’t Miss Your FAFSA Deadline
When it comes to the FAFSA, the first question most people ask is: “When is it due?” There is no single, definitive answer. Your deadline depends entirely on where you live. Some states award aid on a first-come, first-served basis, so submitting your FAFSA early could be the difference between receiving state funds or not. As a result, it’s critical to know (and meet) your state’s deadline and complete your FAFSA as early as possible.
Check out this table to see your state’s FAFSA deadline:
|ASAP after January 1||IL, KY, NC, SC, VT|
|March 1||ID, MD, MI, MT, OK, RI, TN, WV|
|April 1||DC, KS, MO|
|April 15||DE, ND|
|May 1||ME, MA, PA|
|June 1||AR, NJ|
|July 1||IA, LA|
|June 30, 2015||NY|
|30 days after start of term||MN|
|No state grants for award year||NH|
|Check with your school’s financial aid administrator||AL, AZ, CO, GA, HI, NE, NV, NM, SD, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WY, US Territories|
Get Organized for the FAFSA with this Worksheet
Completing your FAFSA form online via FAFSA on the Web can speed processing and enable you to skip questions and entire sections that don’t apply to your situation. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Education created a simple worksheet to make it easier to collect and organize all of the financial information you will need. Be sure to read and complete this worksheet before you start working on your FAFSA.
The Seven Scholarships
This monthly section of the Financial Aid Newsletter features an intriguing list of seven scholarships that share a common characteristic. We hope this section will make you smile and inspire you to apply for more scholarships.
Seven Scholarships for Community Service
- Bonner Scholars Program
- Heroes of the Heart Scholarship Award
- Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship
- Kohl’s Kids Who Care Program
- Navin Narayan College Scholarship
- Partnership for Public Service Fellowship
- Segal AmeriCorps Education Award
This month we are highlighting scholarships from the ScholarshipPoints program. In 2014, we’ll be giving out thousands of dollars in scholarships every month, plus a $10,000 quarterly scholarship AND the brand-new ScholarshipPoints $20,000 Ultimate Full Ride Scholarship! To enter, simply log in to your account and spend your points on these drawings before midnight Pacific on the date indicated:
- $1,000 Happy New Year Scholarship (1/31/14)
- $1,000 Conquer Your Resolution Scholarship (1/31/14)
- $1,000 Buck the Winter Blues Scholarship (1/31/14)
- $1,000 VIP Voice Scholarship (3/15/14)
- $1,000 Toluna Scholarship (3/1/14)
- ScholarshipPoints $10,000 Scholarship (3/15/14)
- ScholarshipPoints $20,000 Ultimate Full Ride Scholarship (12/31/14)
Watch for our notification emails to see if you are a winner!
Top 5 Schools – Number of FAFSAs Processed for 2013-2014 Award Year (YTD)
|University of Phoenix||281,929|
|Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana||139,334|
|University of Central Florida||103,384|
|University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)||102,288|
|Arizona State University (All Campuses)||100,577|
Source: U.S. Department of Education FAFSA Volume Reports
Helpful FAFSA-Related Links
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