Unless you filed for an extension, by now you should have filed your 2014 income taxes. If you’re a student, this means it’s time to submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. To a lot of us, the FAFSA process is an inconvenient stop on the path to getting access to our financial aid for the upcoming school year. However, it’s exactly this laissez faire approach to filling out the FAFSA application that allow for mistakes to happen. These short sighted mistakes can throw major wrenches in your fall semester and create some significant headaches.
If you haven’t filled out your 2015 FAFSA application what are you waiting for? Here are a few tips and things to watch out for to make sure there aren’t any unnecessary hurdles standing between you and paying for your next semester of school.
Not filling out the form
According to the Department of Education, the most common FAFSA mistake is not completing the form at all. The Department says a misconception that the process is difficult or overly time consuming leads to thousands of students missing out on thousands of dollars to help pay for the increasingly high cost of education
Time is of the essence
The 2015-16 school year is still a couple months away, but that doesn’t mean you should be taking your time finishing your FAFSA. Awards are given on a first come, first serve basis so taking your time to finish your application could be costing you access to valuable awards.
Don’t rush it, though
Even though there is a good deal of incentive to finish your FAFSA application, don’t rush it. Common mistakes in the application include information entered incorrectly or misspelled. These simple errors can be eliminated if you allow for time to proofread your application before you submit it.
Don’t forget to sign
Another common mistake on the FAFSA form is forgetting to sign it or forgetting the special FAFSA pin. Often applicants don’t have access to their pin and put off the application which leads to it being forgotten about. Remember, you can always reapply for a pin if you’ve forgotten one so this shouldn’t be a reason to hold off on submitting your application.
Once you’ve submitted your FAFSA application, it’s a good idea to log into the site and check its status. If anything, this will give you peace of mind knowing you’ve finished the process.