Guest Blogger: Heidi Johnson
Senior year brings many new adventures and goals. College applications to complete, essays to write and working towards your post-high school plans. In the midst of all this, there is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – a step towards funding your educational future.
The FAFSA is the federal financial aid application which determines your eligibility for grants, loans, and work-study funding. Grants are gift aid which does not to be repaid and may come from the federal and state government and your university. The work-study program allows you to earn money as a student at a campus job. Student Loans are funds that must be repaid and may come from the federal government, your university or private lenders.
In addition, many scholarship applications require completion of the FAFSA. With this in mind completing the FAFSA each year will allow you to be considered for all types of financial aid that you are eligible for.
The FAFSA application becomes available each year on October 1st. The 2019-2020 FAFSA will open on October 1, 2018. Universities may have preferred filing dates for the FAFSA. To avoid missing this deadline you will want to check with the campuses you are applying to in regards to their preferred filing dates.
You may be asking “What information do I need to complete the FAFSA?” Having the following documents with you when completing the FAFSA will allow you to complete the process with ease:
- Social Security Number for you and your parent(s)
- Copies of the federal tax return for you and your parent(s) if applicable
- The FAFSA uses prior-prior tax information. The 2019-2020 FAFSA will use the 2017 tax return information
- Copies of W2s for you and your parent(s) for the applicable tax year
- Untaxed Income Records, such as child support or veteran’s non-education benefits
- Information on savings, investments, business assets and farm assets (if applicable)
- Driver’s License (if you have one)
- Cell phone (if you have one)
- Alien Registration Card or Permanent Resident Card (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
- Date of birth for parents
- Month and year of parents’ marriage, divorce or separation
- FSA ID for you and your parent
- Both you and your parent will need an FSA ID to sign the FAFSA. You may obtain the FSA ID prior to starting the FAFSA at https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm
- The FSA ID serves as an electronic signature for the FAFSA and for federal student loan documents
Looking for assistance in completing the FAFSA? College Goal WI will be hosting events in October and November to help students and their families through the FAFSA process. There are locations across the state and more information is available at http://collegegoalwi.org/
Completing the FAFSA is an important step in your path towards your educational goals and the UW campus financial aid offices across the state are here to assist you with any FAFSA and financial aid questions you may have as you continue on your educational journey.
Good luck with your senior year and we look forward to helping you achieve your educational goals!
Office of Student Financial Aid | University of Wisconsin-Madison