Updated: Jan 7, 2020
Whether you’re ready or not, the financial aid season where more than $120 billion dollars in federal financial aid for the 2020-2021 school year started October 1st. Federal financial aid is given on a first come first serve basis, so you need to get the FAFSA completed ASAP. This is what you need to know so you can not only meet the deadlines, but to get the maximum amount of money in aid.
What are the financial aid deadlines for the 2020-2021 school year?
October 1, 2019–June 30, 2020
What does FAFSA stand for and why is it important?
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid
Pell Grants, Work Student and Student Loans
What advice/tips for parents or students who are completing financial aid forms for the first time?
Set a schedule
Not sure you'll get aid? File anyway
Be sure to fill out the form completely
Use a supplemental letter to explain special circumstances.
Appeal a disappointing aid package
Be prepared for different aid packages
Is it true that high school seniors should complete FAFSA now even if they don't know where they are going to school next year?
Yes this is true! Even if your high school senior has no idea where they want to go to school, you still need to complete the FAFSA immediately. You can update the list of schools you want the financial aid information to go to later, but not indicate the top schools your student wants to attend.
What tax return do you use to complete the FAFSA?
2018 tax return
If parents are divorced or remarried, what parent must complete the FAFSA?
The parent who the child spends the majority of their time with or whomever provides more than half of the support
If parents are unmarried but live together, both parents' info goes on the form
If the custodial parent is re-married, yes the step parent's information must be provided on the FAFSA
What else should families be doing now other than completing the FAFSA?
Looking for scholarships
Determining their college budgets
You hear about students wanting to be “independent” so they qualify for more financial aid. What are the requirements for a student to be independent?
Be 24 or older by December 31 of the award year
Be an orphan or in foster care
Be a veteran or serving on active duty
Graduate or professional student;
Have legal dependents
Emancipated minor or in legal guardianship
For more information, check out Jini's advice in the video below: