How can I get Help with my Federal Financial Aid Application?

wiseGEEK Writer

The US Federal Financial Aid Application also called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an important thing for many US students. Filling it out in a timely and correct manner may help determine degree to which students are eligible to receive financial aid, and assists beginning or returning college students in selecting schools based on award amount. Types of financial aid that are determined by this application include grants offered by the federal government, many types of student loans, and eligibility for work/study, and each state may base its grants on completed applications. However it can certainly be a chore to fill out a Federal Financial Aid Application, particularly if a person is a dependent of someone else, since both dependent and supporter will have parts of the application to complete.

A financial aid application.
A financial aid application.

Many people may be able to get the help they need filling out the Federal Financial Aid Application by visiting the FAFSA website. In addition to providing applications that can be downloaded and printed out, the site has tips for gathering information before starting, answers questions about the application and then has useful tools to help people track when the government has reviewed applications. One tool is very helpful and lets people correct any mistakes that may have made on an application. Most importantly, the FAFSA website allows people to submit online applications which can certainly save time.

A student loan and financial aid application.
A student loan and financial aid application.

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Should information on the Federal Financial Aid Application not be sufficient, there are some other ways to get assistance. People can have questions answered over the phone by calling one of the designated FAFSA lines listed on the website, or they can get live online help to answer questions. All of these services are free and answer the majority of questions people might have about completing an application.

Another option is to speak with a local college’s financial aid office. They may often have good tips on how to fill things out, and the colleges to which a person is applying could prove helpful too. Typically they are not as useful as information provided by FAFSA, and following the government’s instructions to the letter is the most successful course.

There cannot be enough emphasis placed on the fact that a Federal Financial Aid Application should be completed on deadline. Late completion can easily cause a student to forgo any grants for a year, though loans are usually still available. A good suggestion is to fill the application out early, getting help as needed, and email it or mail it, as soon the government will accept it. Check the FAFSA website for each year’s deadlines.

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