By Jennifer Dixon, M.Ed., College and Career Specialist, Clover Park High School
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), completed online or on paper, is the first step in the financial aid process. Work with a parent, guardian or financial aid officer to apply for federal student financial aid, such as the Pell grant, student loans, and college work-study. Most states and schools require FAFSA information to award their financial aid. The easiest way to file the FAFSA is electronically on or just after January 1, 2011.
STEP ONE – Student and one parent need to obtain a Personal Identification Number (PIN). Your PIN will serve as your electronic signature for the online FAFSA application. It’s similar to the Personal Identification Number (PIN) that you get from your bank that enables you to access your account. Anyone—including parents of dependent students—who has a valid Social Security Number and is a U.S. Citizen or eligible non-citizen may apply for a PIN. Because you use your PIN to sign your financial aid documents, and will use the same one year after year – you should keep it in a safe place. To apply go to www.pin.ed.gov, and select Apply for a PIN.
STEP TWO – Go to FAFSA at: www.fafsa.ed.gov. Locate the FAFSA ON THE WEB WORKSHEET. Collect the necessary information/documents listed and complete the worksheet. If you prefer go to: www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov and complete the 4caster online. The information you use to complete the 4caster can be automatically sent to your FAFSA.
Remember if you and your parent(s) have not yet filed 2010 income taxes you still can file your FAFSA in early January. Estimate your income and tax amounts for now and once you have completed your 2010 tax forms, make the necessary corrections to your FAFSA online.
STEP THREE – Go online to www.fafsa.ed.gov January 1st to transfer the information from your FAFSA worksheet or 4caster on to your electronic FAFSA, enter additional information and submit. If you would like help applying or have questions, plan on attending the FAFSA workshop with your parent/guardian, on Thursday evening, starting at 6 p.m., January 6th in the library at Clover Park High School, 11023 Gravelly Lake Drive SW, Lakewood, WA 98499. (All students and parents invited)
Contact Jennifer Dixon at 253.583.5531 for more information