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College 101

What You Need to Complete the FAFSA
Article Type: Checklist

To get your hands on any government aid, you have to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is a worksheet created by the government that's used to take a snapshot of you and your family’s financial situation. Colleges use this worksheet to help determine how much financial need you have and how much money they should give you. Completing this worksheet also makes you eligible for financial help from the United States government and could make you eligible for certain awards from your college. Here is how to survive:

Filling out the FAFSA is a long and tedious process. It is a government form so it can be super confusing, kind of like filing your taxes. Because this sucker is so tedious (but so necessary), plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to fill it out. And remember, you cannot fill this out alone (if you are a dependent student); your parents need to be involved. This can get a little bit tricky if your parents are, say, divorced, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time.

Before you get started, we recommend packing yourself a little FAFSA survival kit:

• Snacks, preferably comfort food

• Your FAFSA PIN and your parents' PIN (Apply for Personal Identification Numbers here.)

• Your parents' most recent tax returns (1040s)

• Your parents' most recent W2s

• Your W2s (if you have a job)

• Your most recent tax returns (if you filed)

• Your driver's license number and social security number

• Your parents' (and step-parents') social security numbers and birth dates

• Your current bank and savings account statements

• Your parents' current bank and savings account statements

• Information on your parents' investment accounts

• Info on child support (if your parents are divorced)

• Your parents' business or farm records

Now that you've got your kit assembled, head over to Fafsa.ed.gov to start filling out the form.

RED ALERT: There are other FAFSA websites that are not affiliated with the real government one. Remember, FAFSA stands for FREE Application for Federal Student Aid, so if the website you are at is asking for money, it is a scam. Watch out for these rip off sites in particular:

• fafsa.com

• fafsaonline.com

• fafsa.net

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