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Seven Things You Need to Know About FAFSA

October 24, 2018

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The 2019-20 Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) officially opens October 1 and is the gateway to all of your collegiate financial aid. For students attending college from July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020, the FAFSA is your first step to obtaining any federal or state-granted financial aid including grants, scholarships, federal work-study, and loans. Students and their parents should work together to complete the FAFSA each year.

    1. If you’ve completed the FAFSA before, make sure you know your student and parent FSA ID. This account information will speed up the process of applying each year and allow you to sign your forms electronically.
    2. Have tax returns from two year’s prior on hand when completing the FAFSA (for example, when completing the 2019-20 FAFSA, the 2017 taxes should be used). Most aid is determined based on your personal or family income.
    3. If you’re a dependent student, the FAFSA must be signed by you and your parents.
    4. The parent who claimed the student for tax purposes is not necessarily the parent that goes on the FAFSA. The student should list the parent with whom they lived for most of the previous 12 months (including step-parents if parents are remarried). If parents are unmarried but live together, both parent’s information must be on the FAFSA.
    5. If you or your parents are married, you have two options for filing taxes to meet federal financial aid guidelines. If the student or parent is married, he or she should file taxes as either “married filing joint” or “married filing separately”. There are very specific situations where a student or parent should file as “head of household.” In these cases, documentation is required when applying for financial aid to support this status.
    6. Be sure all information entered is accurate and complete so as not to cause significant delays in determining your aid eligibility. Stay in touch with your financial aid office to be sure all requirements have been met.
    7. The award amount on the FAFSA confirmation page is only an estimate, not the official award amount. The student must contact the institution they plan to attend to receive the specific amount they are eligible to receive.

If you’re a GGC student applying for aid, be sure to use the Georgia Gwinnett College federal school code: 041429 when submitting your FAFSA. Have questions? The Office of Financial Aid is here to help.