Most of you are probably familiar with FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid that you must complete in order to be eligible for federally funded financial assistance for post-high school education.

The FAFSA for the 2012 – 2013 school year is now available, and financial aid advisers are recommending that if you’re seeking scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs, you should complete and submit the form as soon as possible – but definitely prior to March 1 –  to ensure that you’ll be considered for as much funding as possible.

Before you sit down to complete the FAFSA form, be sure to have the following information and documentation from 2011 readily available:

  • Your social security number
  • You driver’s license (if applicable)
  • 2011 W-2 forms and other records of money earned (Note that there is a new feature that retrieves tax data directly from the IRS to help complete the FAFSA to assist you.)
  • Your 2011 Federal Income Tax Return
  • Your parents’ 2011 Federal Income Tax Return
  • 2011 untaxed income records
  • Current bank statements
  • Any current business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bond, and other investment records for you and your parents
  • Alien registration or permanent resident card (if you’re not a U.S. citizen)

Anyone can apply for financial aid, and students are often surprised to find out they are eligible. The College Board’s Trends in Student Aid 2011 cites that the average postsecondary student in 2010-11 received a combined $13,914 in aid, including $6,566 in grants and $6,368 in federal loans. In other words, it’s well worth your time to complete and submit the FAFSA form.

Complete information on the FAFSA form is available here.




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