10 helpful tips for filling out the FAFSA and securing financial aid for college 

Completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is important. It’s the first step toward getting many different types of financial aid for school, and finishing the FAFSA early is the best way to maximize college-award packages. But how much do you know about this financial aid application?

Here are 10 important tips about filling out your FAFSA:

  1. Completing the FAFSA doesn’t cost you ANYTHING (hence the name, FREE Application for Federal Student Aid).
  2. Prior to submitting a FAFSA, you must create an FSA ID, which serves as your e-signature. You’ll use the same one each year. You’ll need one for a parent. Tip: if your older sibling applied for a FAFSA last year, guess what? One of your parents already has an FSA ID.
  3. You need to complete the FAFSA each year you attend school in order to keep receiving your award.
  4. The earlier you submit your FAFSA, the better. Texas Grant Awards are limited, especially if you apply after March 1.
  5. For the Pell Grant, you can apply the day before your start college, but you won’t receive your financial aid until October. That means you pay out of pocket until you get a refund check.
  6. Male students must register with Selective Service in order to be eligible for federal student aid. Why? Because it’s the law.
  7. All federal aid, including loans, grants, and work-study, requires a FAFSA on file.
  8. High earners may qualify for some form of aid, especially institutional aid. Submit a FAFSA even if you think your parents make too much money.
  9. The maximum Pell Grant award is $6,095. Remember a grant is FREE money – no strings attached. Six grand will cover classes, books, and some spending money at Houston Community College.
  10. FAFSA now uses “prior, prior year” tax data. Students enrolling in Fall 2019 will use 2017 tax data.

Three lucky seniors who complete their FAFSA/TASFA by Jan. 1 will be entered for a chance to win a $500 scholarship for college! Visit your college adviser if you have questions or need additional information.

Use this worksheet to gather all of the important information you need to complete your FAFSA