"Sacramento Cal SOAP Consortium Sacramento County Office of Education PREPARATION"
Tips for Completing the 2006-2007 FAFSA Financial Aid Information for the Class of ’06 Sacramento Cal-SOAP Consortium – Sacramento County Office of Education PREPARATION • Gather all the documents you need into one place. Include recent bank statements and 2005 tax returns for student and parent(s), if filed. If taxes aren’t done yet, DON’T WAIT. Use 2004 tax returns to make 2005 estimates, or use December pay stub. • Print a Pre-Application Worksheet. • Plan how to sign your FAFSA-Speed the process with your PIN • Plan to spend 2 – 3 hours completing the application. It requires student AND parent information. • Read the instructions and follow them very carefully. Be careful to mark your answers in the exact manner described on the form. • It’s OK to complete the form in December; just don’t mail it until January 1, 2006, at the earliest. TIPS ON SPECIFIC QUESTIONS — Numbers refer to questions on the paper FAFSA. Read these tips along with the questions and the instructions in the FAFSA. 1-3. Enter the name exactly the same as it appears on the Social Security card. Any other form of student name will cause major delays. 8. Get the Social Security number correct. Check it twice. The application will not be processed without a valid Social Security number. 9. Your date of birth must match the date of birth at Social Security Administration. Be careful not to enter “05” or “06” as the birth year. Remember to add a “0” in front of single digit answers. (Example: January = 01, not 1.) 14-15. If the student is not a U.S. citizen, enter the Permanent Resident Card number. Eligible non-citizens receive the same financial aid as U.S. citizens. If the number is only eight digits enter “0” first. 16. This refers to student’s marital status on date of signing. 17. Leave this blank if the student is single. 18. If you recently moved to California, ask the college for advice on “State of Residence.” 21. Male students who haven’t registered for the Selective Service yet and are 18 may check “YES” to get registered. If under 18, register soon after the 18th birthday to prevent delay in financial aid. You can register online at www.sss.gov. 23. Read the instructions (p. 2) for question #23. Most students should enter “1” (starting a 4-year program) or “5” (going to a vocational program). Don’t answer “2”. Even if a Master’s degree is an eventual goal, don’t enter “7” or “8” yet. 24. Read the instructions (p. 2) for question #24. High school seniors should mark “0” for first year/never attended college, even if college classes were taken while in high school. College classes while still enrolled in high school do not count for this question. 25. “Yes,” we hope the student will have a GED or High School diploma. If not, ask for advice. 26. “NO,” students will not have their first college degree. This question doesn’t refer to a H.S diploma. 27. Families can mark “YES” to loans and still turn them down later. Mark “YES” to get the maximum offer of financial aid. Refusing loans will not increase your offer of ‘free’ aid. 28. Mark “YES”! Work-Study is very valuable. You are not committed to take it. Refusing it will not increase your chances for other forms of aid. 29-30. The questions refer to biological or adoptive parents or legal guardians, not stepparents, regardless of who is reporting financial information. Enter the highest level completed. If the parent doesn’t have a B.A. degree, mark high school, even if s/he completed some college. 31. DO NOT LEAVE BLANK. 32-34. BLUE shaded questions are about the student. Will the student file a tax return for 2005? Be careful to answer these questions correctly. Most students file a 1040A or EZ. It is OK to answer tax questions (#35-37) by estimating from your December pay stub or your 2004 income tax return. You can correct later on the “Student Aid Report” (SAR). 34. There is a significant advantage in being able to answer “YES.” (See instructions, p. 2.) 35-47. Follow the directions carefully. It’s OK to enter zero if you had no income. When you have nothing to report on money questions, you should enter “0.” Worksheet A: Don’t include untaxed income received by parent(s) because of the student. For example, if mom receives child support, it’s reported on her portion of Worksheet A, not the student’s. Worksheet B and C: High School students usually have no entries (enter “0”) for Worksheet B or Worksheet C. 48-54. For High School seniors, these answers are usually all “NO.” Unless a student has been orphaned or is a ward of the court, he/she is “dependent” by law for financial aid (until they’re 24, get a B.A. degree, get married, or become a veteran.) If a student thinks his/her parents can’t/won’t/shouldn’t fill out the FAFSA, the student should seek advice immediately.) 55. PURPLE shaded questions are about parent(s). Read the instructions on p. 7, Step 4: “Who is considered a parent in this Step?” Ask for advice if the family is unclear about the parent definition. 65-66. Read the instructions carefully—these are important questions. Always include the student in the family even though s/he may be away from home next year. Do not include parents who are in school. 70-77. It is OK to answer tax questions by estimating from the 2004 income tax return or the December 2004 pay stub. Parents may need to estimate tax information in order to file early. They can correct later on the “Student Aid Report” (SAR). 72. There is a significant advantage in being able to answer “YES,” even if you actually filed a “long form” (1040). (See instructions, p. 2.) 78. An “Earned Income Credit” is money paid to low-income families through their tax returns. 82-83. These questions require a calculation. First determine the value of the item and then subtract any debt against that item and enter the remainder as the net worth. 86-96. Carefully enter the name and code # of every college under consideration. You can get the code numbers at the high school, from the college, or use the Internet www.fafsa.ed.gov to look up the code numbers. Some advice on listing colleges: Always have a California college on the list or the student won’t be considered for Cal Grant. If there’s any chance of going to a 4-year California college, put it on the list above the Community College choice. If there is any chance of going to a Community College, even if the student hasn’t applied yet, include it on the form now. If the student intends to live on-campus, mark that box for each college, even if you haven’t arranged housing yet. Special Note: If the student is applying to more than 6 colleges, consult a high school counselor or download the appropriate tip sheet at: http://www.scoe.net/calsoap/pages/student_resources.html 98. Mark “full-time” to maximize your aid offer. A choice to go part-time can be reported to the college. 99. Even if you complete the form in December 2005, sign it on January 1, 2006 or later. 100. You MUST have a student signature and a parent signature. Do NOT send it in unsigned. This will cause a big delay. If filing electronically, you and your parents can sign using your PINs. You will get a confirmation number if the transmission is successful. If you do not have a PIN, be sure to print and send a signature page. ONCE YOU HAVE COMPLETED THE FORM o Make a photocopy of the FAFSA or print your online FAFSA for your records. This is important. o If you are mailing it, put the form in the envelope provided. Keep the copy, the instructions, and the worksheet for your records. o Fill out the notification card, put a stamp on it, and enclose it with the FAFSA. This is worth the effort. o Do not enclose anything else. If you have special information you want the colleges to see, send a copy separately to each college. Do not send letters or tax returns with the FAFSA. o Go to the Post Office and ask for a “proof of mailing” when you send the FAFSA. This will prove you sent it if there are questions later. Do not use certified mail. o Expect a “Student Aid Report” (SAR) within 3-4 weeks, 3-4 days if filing on the web. If you don’t get one, call this number to check on your status: (1/800-433-3243) or check on-line at www.fafsa.ed.gov. When you get the “Student Aid Report”, review it IMMEDIATELY. Make changes as soon as possible. o You will use the SAR to make corrections, add or change colleges, and to review the information you submitted. If you filed electronically, you can make corrections on the web. If you filed on paper you can make corrections on the web once you get a PIN. Or, you can contact a college financial aid office; they should be able to make the changes for you electronically. FINANCIAL AID OFFICES AT EVERY COLLEGE ARE THERE TO HELP YOU. CALL THEM IF YOU NEED ADVICE. For more tip sheets - http://www.scoe.net/calsoap/pages/student_resources.html