The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2016-2017 school year opened on January 1st, 2016 and will soon end on June 30th, 2016. However most universities would like their prospective students to have it completed by March 2nd.
When completing the FAFSA it is important to have the parent/guardian of the dependent’s tax forms as a reference, though it can still be completed if the income did not change from the previous year. It is also useful to have bank statements, investment information, and records of untaxed income, FSA ID Log In, and Social Security Number. Be aware that if you are not a U.S. citizen you may still fill out the Dream Act application. The FAFSA will estimate the amount needed based on parent’s assets, income, and household size. Once completed the student will be notified of their expected family contribution and results if they qualify for a Federal Pell Grant, money that does not have to be paid back. If students do not qualify they may still be offered student loans at a fixed interest rate or may qualify for a work-study program.
California students should take into consideration that once the FAFSA is completed, a student can submit the information for additional aid from Cal Grant, only if the student is a California resident and plans on attending a school in California. There are 3 types of Cal Grants available. Cal Grant A requires a 3.0 GPA and awards up to $12,240 for a UC Campus and $5,472 at a CSU Campus. Cal Grant B requires a 2.0 GPA and provides a living allowance of up to $1,565. Cal Grant C assists with career education or technical schools and provides $547 for books and up to $2,462 for tuition and fees.
The final amount of money awarded is up to the school the student will be attending. At the end of the FAFSA, students will be requested to list up to 10 schools they are considering, thus all information will be transferred over.
It is best to not wait and complete the FAFSA before it is too late, unless you have thousands of dollars laying around for school and don’t like free money.