For College Bound students in Washington, one critical step to receiving the scholarship is FAFSA completion. Here we’ll provide you with information about the FAFSA and why it’s so vital for the College Bound scholar.
Firstly, what is the FAFSA? The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is the primary application for student aid and is used for federal and state grants, work study, and other assistance. You should file the FAFSA even if you are unsure about attending college, how much financial aid you might need, or what other scholarships you may receive.
Why is the FAFSA important as a College Bound Student? In order to determine if you are eligible for the scholarship, and then to pay it out, YOU, the student, must complete the FAFSA as soon after January 1st as possible. The priority filing deadline for all College Bound scholars is February 1st each year. If you file after this date, there is a chance you may receive less funding. So, don’t delay. Get it done! After filing the FAFSA, The Department of Education will send FAFSA application data to the colleges listed on the FAFSA and to the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC, formerly known as the HECB). WSAC will match the FAFSA application to College Bound applications on file and notify the student via email* if we are successful. Be sure that the email address on the FAFSA is the one you plan to use and check regularly for college-related correspondence. College Bound will contact the student using this email address. If you don’t hear from College Bound within 2 weeks of submitting your FAFSA, call us at 1-888-535-0747.
Q: What happens if I don’t file the FAFSA by Feb. 1 – should I even bother?
A: Yes, file it. You may still receive the State Need Grant portion of your award depending on whether the campus has available funds. The College Bound portion will still be offered to you if you meet the other eligibility criteria.
There are some documents everyone needs to file the 2013 FAFSA. Start collecting them now! Here is a list to get you started: Your Social Security card, driver’s license, 2012 W-2 forms if you had a job, your parent’s W-2 forms or 2012 Federal Income Tax return, bank statements, and alien registration or permanent resident card. There is a guide called the FAFSA on the WEB Worksheet which you can use to help you complete the FAFSA. Get it, along with other advice directly from the US Department of Education HERE.
TIP: You may file the FAFSA before your parents do their taxes – you can update your FAFSA later. This is especially important for you as a College Bound scholar. You can use your PIN code to come back to the FAFSA later and amend your information. Just, don’t miss the February 1st College Bound priority deadline, if possible.
Here are some tips to remember when doing your FAFSA:
- Read the directions.
- Make sure your SSN & date of birth are accurate.
- You and your parents must sign the form.
- Keep copies of your family’s prior year’s taxes.
- Include codes for all the colleges you apply to.
- Remember to file the FAFSA every year.
- Never pay someone to fill out the FAFSA. The FAFSA is always FREE.
Don’t wait until you are admitted to college! You can have your FAFSA records sent to more than one school, so don’t wait to see where you are going to attend. It’s more important to have your FAFSA filed on time.
After the FAFSA, then I’m done, right? Well, not exactly. After the FAFSA is done, there may be more to do. Check with the college of your choice and stay in touch – there may be additional financial aid forms and deadlines. The FAFSA is just a part of the financial aid process. It would also be a good time to begin your scholarship search. College expenses can crop up later on and you don’t want to fall short. It’s better to have too much money to pay for college than not enough! A site we recommend is www.theWashBoard.org which is specifically for Washington students and does not spam or sell student information.
Want help filling out your FAFSA? Have you ever heard of College Goal Sunday. They are events statewide just to help you complete this important financial aid document. Ask your counselor for information about events in your area, or check out www.collegegoalsundaywa.org
Have questions about the FAFSA and don’t know where to go? Check out the HELP section at https://fafsa.ed.gov/help.htm – or if you need to contact someone for assistance, here are some options for you. https://fafsa.ed.gov/contact.htm
And one more thing to remember, you’ll need to complete the FAFSA each year that you plan to attend college. The opening date is always January 1st for the upcoming academic year. It is important to do the FAFSA as soon as you can every year. Some funds are spent on a first-come, first-served basis and you’ll want to do everything you can to secure your financial aid.