The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a lengthy form and in some ways complicated. Most questions about the FAFSA contain about 130 questions on dependency status, assets and income and which is required for any student who wants to obtain federal, institutional and State: need-based scholarships and grants, tuition waivers, loans or a work-study job while in school. Many students and parents feel apprehensive when they tackle the form; however there are ways to obtain help when completing the FAFSA.
Here are six resources to help you complete the financial aid form successfully:
- FAFSA on the Web.
The federal government can help if you have questions with the form. Just call the FAFSA hotline at (800) 433-3243. When you are working on the FAFSA online, you can also click the "LiveHelp" button.
- Use a worksheet.
Completing the FAFSA can be easier if you know what information you need in advance. You can prepare for the questions on the FAFSA by printing the "FAFSA on the Web" worksheet off the federal student aid website.
- The IRS.
You'll need your income tax information to complete the FAFSA. The federal government recently made inputting this information much easier thanks to the IRS data retrieval tool. With this service, parents can transfer their federal tax information to the FAFSA straight from their recent year tax returns.
- "College Goal Monday."
Look for one of the free weekend events scheduled in January and February for families that require help completing the FAFSA. College Goal Monday events, which are held in 37 states and the District of Columbia, was created by the Indiana Student Financial Aid Association. The Maryland Higher Education Commission also sponsors free FAFSA workshops throughout the state to assist and prepare students for postsecondary.
- Check out MDgo4it Resource Section
MDgo4it’s Resources’ section contains free videos, financial aid information and a list of the net price calculators for Maryland’s colleges and universities that can help you determine your college costs.
- Use a FAFSA preparer.
While anyone can file the FAFSA for free (it's even emphasized in its name), there are preparers who will complete the form for a fee. Contact the Student Financial Aid Services at your postsecondary institution, which can assist you with the completion of the FAFSA or refer you to a unit that provides those services.