The financial aid process has changed. Rather than waiting until January, you can begin the process as early as October 1st! The very first step in applying for financial aid is filling out the FAFSA. The FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Everyone should plan to fill out a FAFSA, even if you are not sure of your educational plans for next year. If you do not think you will qualify for financial aid, you should still fill out the FAFSA. Our local financial aid expert, David Vikander from SMSU, says that even Donald Trump should fill out a FAFSA. There may be a source of money out there that you are not aware of, and some scholarships require a FAFSA form.
The FAFSA form is found online and should be completed online. There are paper copies available, but the process is much, much slower. A good place to start is by filling out an application for an FSA ID. This is different than the FAFSA PIN that was used in the past, and is needed to electronically sign the FAFSA. In order to fill out the FAFSA, you will need to have your tax information for the year completed, although you do not need to have it submitted. Make sure to gather all of your information before beginning the FAFSA.
Financial aid funds are distributed in a “first come, first serve” order, so being early or at the very least, on time, is key!
Helpful Financial Aid Links:
YouTube – videos explain each step of the financial aid process
Federal Student Aid – making it easier for you to understand the financial aid process from beginning to end.
FAFSA 4Caster – helps predict how much federal student aid you can receive for college. Use this for students of any age to help plan for college expenses.
MN Office of Higher Education – this website is designed for MN students. There is information on college costs, types of financial aid, grants available, the MN College Savings Plan, tax benefits, and student loans.
FinAid – this website gives information on types of financial aid, savings plans, and has a scholarship search component.