The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opened for business on January 1st. As such, many parents and college-bound students will be logging onto FAFSA.gov soon to complete this primary application for financial aid.
Free help in completing the FAFSA will be available from experts at 1 p.m., January 26 at Somerville High School and other locations across the state. It is part of FAFSA Day Massachusetts, a volunteer-led effort to help families get financial aid. Visit www.fafsaday.org for more information and to RSVP.
As you start the filing process, keep in mind these guidelines:
- The Helps and Hints section, located on each FAFSA page, offers details and advice on answering each question.
- When answering questions, report a zero when appropriate rather than leaving a question blank.
- Don’t use nicknames. The name reported for the student and parent must match the name on each person’s Social Security card.
- Students will be asked for an email address. Be sure the email address is one checked frequently throughout the financial aid process.
- Parents without a Social Security Number will not be able to secure a PIN (PIN.ed.gov) to sign the FAFSA electronically, and will therefore need to print, sign, and mail the FAFSA signature page.
- The IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which allows applicants to pull IRS tax data electronically into the FAFSA, will be available Feb 2, 2014. Tax data should be ready for use three weeks (if filed electronically) or eleven weeks (if filed by mail) after taxes have been submitted to the IRS.
And don't hesitate to contact the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) with any questions. You can reach us at 1-800-449-MEFA (6332) or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also access a list of great FAQs with more FAFSA information on our website at www.mefa.org.