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What to do After You Fill Out the FAFSA

 

Written by: Lesley Ofori Antwi, a High School Student

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The Free Application for Federal Student Aid has cause a panic among high school seniors and college students across the nation for years now. File, file, file is a constant chant that you will hear on your campus or in your college and career office. So one day you finally decide to sit down with your parents or perhaps alone and use a solid one hour and thirty minutes to complete the FAFSA. You check your work, sign, and click submit. Now what?

READ YOUR STUDENT AID REPORT

 If you signed your FAFSA electronically then you should receive the Student Aid Report 3 days after you submitted your application. If you mailed a signature form then it will take approximately three weeks. No matter how long it takes, makes sure to read your student aid report as soon as you get it. The report contains very important information regarding your eligibility for grants and loans. Read this letter thoroughly for any mistakes or corrections that need to be made.  

If you signed your FAFSA electronically then you should receive the Student Aid Report 3 days after you submitted your application. If you mailed a signature form then it will take approximately three weeks. No matter how long it takes, makes sure to read your student aid report as soon as you get it. The report contains very important information regarding your eligibility for grants and loans. Read this letter thoroughly for any mistakes or corrections that need to be made.  

REVIEW YOUR EFC (EXPECTED FAMILY CONTRIBUTION)

 One of the most important pieces of information on the student aid report is your EFC. The EFC or Expected Family Contribution tells you just what it says, the amount of money that you and your family will be expected to contribute into your education. Formally, your EFC is a measure of your family's financial stability and strength. The amount of your EFC is calculated by a formula backed by law that takes into account several aspects of your family's financial being such as family size, assets, benefits, taxed and untaxed income, and more. Basically, if you see the your EFC= 00000, you're in the clear and any other amount simply means you've got some work to do.

One of the most important pieces of information on the student aid report is your EFC. The EFC or Expected Family Contribution tells you just what it says, the amount of money that you and your family will be expected to contribute into your education. Formally, your EFC is a measure of your family's financial stability and strength. The amount of your EFC is calculated by a formula backed by law that takes into account several aspects of your family's financial being such as family size, assets, benefits, taxed and untaxed income, and more. Basically, if you see the your EFC= 00000, you're in the clear and any other amount simply means you've got some work to do.

CHECK FOR CORRECTIONS THAT NEED TO BE MADE AND MAKE THEM!

 After your application has been processed you can make changes to the application based on your circumstances. For example, if you wish to use an updated tax return that could be more favorable to you or if you noticed an error in your application that needs to be changed. Also, if you wish to send more than 10 schools your FAFSA you can remove some schools after the application has been processed and then add in the other schools and submit your application again. The removed schools will still have your information so don't be scared to exchange schools after the application has been processed. Making a correction to your application is easy and free but you should account for a 3 day processing time and make sure to thoroughly check for any errors in your application.

After your application has been processed you can make changes to the application based on your circumstances. For example, if you wish to use an updated tax return that could be more favorable to you or if you noticed an error in your application that needs to be changed. Also, if you wish to send more than 10 schools your FAFSA you can remove some schools after the application has been processed and then add in the other schools and submit your application again. The removed schools will still have your information so don't be scared to exchange schools after the application has been processed. Making a correction to your application is easy and free but you should account for a 3 day processing time and make sure to thoroughly check for any errors in your application.

VERIFY WITH YOUR SCHOOLS

 Once you have reviewed all of your information and sent the application to your various schools, take the time to contact these schools and verify with the financial aid offices of these schools that your application has been received and stored. It is also imperative to contact the schools to know if there are any additional forms or applications that are specific to the institution that you are applying to and the deadlines for such application. Don't leave any money on the table make sure to dot your i's and cross your t's.

Once you have reviewed all of your information and sent the application to your various schools, take the time to contact these schools and verify with the financial aid offices of these schools that your application has been received and stored. It is also imperative to contact the schools to know if there are any additional forms or applications that are specific to the institution that you are applying to and the deadlines for such application. Don't leave any money on the table make sure to dot your i's and cross your t's.

 Lesley Ofori Antwi, Bayside High School student

Lesley Ofori Antwi, Bayside High School student

 
Kelly Peeler