Happy New Year. Now fill out that FAFSA!

January 1 – Happy New Year’s! Don’t forget to get started on those important New Year’s resolutions – exercise more, eat healthier, get more sleep, get better organized, etc. Enjoy the day but don’t forget something very important – get that FAFSA completed. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid can be submitted on January 1st (midnight to be exact) and time is important since federal aid is given on a first-come-first served basis.

Filing the FAFSA will be much easier if you plan ahead and are organized. There are steps you can take to prepare ahead. First, have your 2012 tax return information ready. Do not wait for your tax return. You can enter estimated tax information and then go back and revise the tax information later.

Here’s a quick list of documents you will need available for completing the report:

  • Social security numbers
  • Student’s 2012 W-2s and tax returns
  • Parent’s 2012 W-2s and tax returns (if student is Dependent)
  • Bank statements
  • Business financial statements (if student or parents own a business)
  • Citizenship records – alien registration or permanent resident card (if you are not a U.S. Citizen)

Consider downloading the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet. This is a simple way to organize all of the required information you’ll need to fill out the FAFSA.  Select this link to download or display a 2012-2013 FAFSA on the Web Worksheet in PDF format.

If this will be your very first time filing the FAFSA online you are going to need an electronic PIN. If you haven’t already done so, apply for your FAFSA PIN now at http://www.pin.ed.gov/. Keep this PIN handy. You will reuse this PIN every time you want to access your FAFSA or your SAR (Student Aid Report), and you will reuse it every year that you apply.

Filing the FAFSA is about as much fun as filing your tax returns but don’t overlook the importance of doing so. Plan ahead so you are ready to go January 1, 2013.

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