Plans to finance college begin with filling out the right forms, and it’s particularly important for graduating seniors who plan to continue their education this fall, according to Dena Norrod, the higher education consultant for St. Clair County KnowHow2Go. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form that provides information to the U.S. Department of Education and higher education institutions, allowing them to prepare a package consisting of scholarships, grants, and loans available to eligible students. “The FAFSA form should be filed as soon as possible,” Norrod said. Here’s how:
- Apply for a PIN number at http://www.pin.ed.gov/PINWebApp/appinstr.jsp. This PIN is how you will electronically sign your FAFSA and this number will remain the same each time you file the FAFSA. (So keep it in a safe place to access yearly.)
- While it is helpful if your 2012 tax returns have been completed, it is not necessary. The FAFSA can be completed using estimated income and then parents and students can make the necessary changes once the tax return has been filed.
- File the FAFSA at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. (Make sure you use dot gov, not dot com.)
- The FAFSA is free to file and there are many opportunities to get assistance with filing. Direct questions to college access advisers or guidance counselors, or contact the St. Clair County Community College Financial Aid Office at (810) 989-5530.
- To read an article that explains the process of preparing to file, visit: http://www.collegeview.com/articles/article/filing-the-fafsa.
- More information about applying to college is available at the KnowHow2GO website, available through the St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency, at www.sccresa.org. Click on the “KnowHow2Go” button on the home page.