By Jacob Newman – StepUp Outreach Officer and Paying For College Expert – 1.3.2019


 


The New Year is here! This time of year, many people decide to make resolutions. If you’re a senior in high school (or a current college student), it’s not too late to make a resolution to file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) so you can access grants (free money), work-study (usually on-campus jobs to help pay for school), and federal student loans (money that you have to pay back with interest). You will file the FAFSA every year you are in college. And even if you don’t plan to attend college right after high school (military, Peace Corps, or religious mission), it’s still a good idea to file your FAFSA your senior year of high school.

Start the year off right and get filing the FAFSA checked off of your resolution list. Here’s a list of steps to help you file your FAFSA…

 

1. Attend a StepUp-sponsored FAFSA Completion Open House

We still have a few StepUp FAFSA Completion Open Houses scheduled through the beginning of the year. Check out our calendar to see an event near you. At these events, you can get help from StepUp’s Paying for College Experts to file your FAFSA in about 30 minutes! If you have already filed your FAFSA but have a question (or several), you can also come get expert advice.

2. Gather your documents

There are some documents that you will need to complete your FAFSA. Students – here’s a list of what you will need to file the 2019-2020 FAFSA:

  • Your driver’s license
  • Your Social Security card or Permanent Resident card
  • Your parents’ Social Security cards (s) or Permanent Resident card(s)
  • Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
  • Your 2017 federal income tax returns, W-2 forms, and other records of money earned
  • You parents’ 2017 federal income tax returns, W-2 forms, and other records of money earned
  • Your bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
  • Your parents’ bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
  • Your records of untaxed income (if applicable)
  • Your parents’ records of untaxed income (if applicable)
  • Your current business/investment information (students and parents)
  • Your parents’ current business/investment information (students and parents)

 

3. Create FSA IDs

Both the student and one parent will need FSA IDs. Students should use their own permanent email address (not a parent’s email or school email) because they will use this FSA ID every year that they are in college. Parents should use their own permanent email address (not their student’s). The FSA ID acts as a digital signature and is the way that students and parents can import their tax information from the IRS. Students should create their own FSA ID and parents should create their own as well! Don’t make one for each other!

 

4. File at FAFSA.gov or use the “myStudentAid” app

Make sure that you file your FAFSA at FAFSA.gov and that you never pay to file. Filing the FAFSA is always free! Go through the questions carefully. On the right hand side of the FAFSA website, you will notice that there is a dynamic “Tool Tips” section that will help you answer the questions appropriately. Some of the questions can be tricky, so make sure that you read everything carefully! You can also download the “myStudentAid” app on your smartphone to complete the FAFSA.

 

5. If you get stumped, reach out!

Finally if you have questions, there are many people who can and want to help you! You can reach out to your StepUp Paying for College Experts at outreach@utahsbr.edu or call 801-869-5701.