Three Tips for Filing FAFSA

If you are returning to school this year as a graduate student, filing the FAFSA this time around might be slightly different from when you did it for college.  Here are a few tips to maximize your financial aid.

  1. File as soon as possible – While FAFSA requires information from your 2009 tax return and schools will request a copy of your tax return for verification, you DO NOT need to have filed your taxes to submit your FAFSA application.  Simply check the box that says “will file” on the application and correct your FAFSA later once you have filed your 2009 return. 
  2. Parents’ information – When you filled your FAFSA for college, you likely were your parents’ dependent, which meant FAFSA required you to provide your parents’ income information.  Now that you are about to be a graduate student, however, most likely you are no longer a dependent, and as a result no longer need to provide your parents’ information.  This can be a huge time-saver, since you no longer have to wait for your parents to file their taxes to finishing the FAFSA application or submit a copies of their returns to school.  But check with your schools to make sure that this will not affect the amount of financial aid you will receive.
  3. Investments and assets – And in case you are wondering, you do not have to include retirement accounts as part of your investments, nor do you include the home you live in (if you own it) as a real estate asset.

Now that you know the basics, hurry and submit your FAFSA so you can be at the top of the list for any grants, scholarships, and low-interest loans.

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