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Paying For College - Head Matters


6. Aid Applications

a. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (continued)

FAFSA tips:

Submit early – The sooner, the better because some aid is first-come, first-serve. If you don't submit the form by your school's deadline, you may not receive all the aid for which you are eligible. Use estimated figures if you and your family have not completed your tax returns by mid-January. (Note: when you use estimated income, you will need to update your information once you've completed your taxes.)

The FAFSA is free – Do not use a service that requires you to pay a fee to submit your free application! Instead, be sure to use the free federal website to submit your FAFSA at

Expressing interest in aid on the FAFSA doesn't obligate you – You are not required to use all of the financial aid that your school offers, especially student loans (remember, only borrow as much as you really need)! However, some aid, such as work-study funds, may be first-come, first-served. If you answer "no" to the question about work-study on the FAFSA and later change your mind, work-study funds may not be available.

Use your real name – Be sure to use the legal name that appears on your Social Security card. Nicknames will cause a delay in processing your application.

Check your SSN – Double-check that you typed your Social Security Number correctly. If it’s incorrect, you will have to start all over filling out the FAFSA.

"You" is the student – The words "you" and "your" on the FAFSA always refer to the student, not the parents.

Make a copy – You should always keep one for your records. Just print out the completed online form before you submit it.

Sign your application – If you don't sign the form, you will still receive a Student Aid Report (SAR), but you won't receive aid. Use your PIN to sign the online application.

Help is available – The Federal Student Aid Information Center is a great resource. Call them at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) with questions about FAFSA on the web or the paper application process. Or visit You can also contact CollegeInvest at . We're always happy to help!

Get it in Spanish – The FAFSA is available in Spanish. From the main page at click on the link at the top right hand corner that says EspaƱol. 
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