Filling out the FAFSA form

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You applied for college and got accepted into your top choices!! Congrats! The next thing that comes to your mind: how am I going to pay for this? That is where the FAFSA may be helpful. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. More than 70% of students that attend UW Oshkosh get some sort of financial assistance to help pay for college. Besides scholarships, the only way you can get federal aid is by filling out the FAFSA form. Some people may find it confusing to fill out, but don’t let that stop you! I’m here to help with some advice that will hopefully make the process easier.

Before starting the online application process you are going to want to complete your taxes. Once you have that done, you’ll need to get a Personal Idenfication Number (PIN) and set up your password. To do this go to pin.ed.gov. Make sure to keep these in a safe place so you don’t forget where they are!

The Department of Education says that you can complete the FAFSA form in less than an hour as long as you have all the necessary documents at hand. A little planning can help the process go a lot smoother. Here are the documents you’ll need:

  • Your most recent income tax return (and your parents’ if you’re a dependent)
  • Your current bank statements
  • Your current investment records (if any)
  • Records of any untaxed income you may have received
  • Your Driver’s License (if you have one)
  • Your Social Security Number
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen: your alien registration or permanent resident card

After this, filling out the FAFSA form is pretty self-explanatory. They walk you through each part step by step.

When you fill out the FAFSA make sure to indicate that you would like UW Oshkosh or any other schools you are applying for to receive the information. (UW Oshkosh’s school code is: 003920) UW Oshkosh’s priority date is March 15 so you’ll want to make sure to get it submitted by then to maximize your chances of receiving all the aid you’re eligible for. The earlier you get your FAFSA in the better.

Based on your FAFSA you may receive aid in the forms of grants, loans and work study.

  • Grants are need-based funds from federal, state or private sources that do not need to be repaid, provided that the enrollment period is completed.
  • Loans are borrowed funds that you will need to pay with interest after you are no longer a student. There are tons of loans you can receive so make sure to pay attention to the specifics of the loans you are awarded.
  • Work-study money is also given based on your FAFSA. It is a federally sponsored employment program for undergraduate and graduate students so they can get a job on campus. You don’t need work study to get a job on campus, but it opens up your job prospects if you have it.

If you want to practice filling our the FAFSA you can download and fill out the “FAFSA on the Web Worksheet.” It lists all the FAFSA questions in the same order as they appear on the official FAFSA.

If you have any questions after that you can go to the UW Oshkosh Financial Aid Website, which is packed with information and can assist you with filling out the FAFSA.

Here are a few direct links to point out from this website:

FAQ: This provides a list of frequently asked questions including how to apply for aid, when to apply, direct lending, canceling aid or changing aid and much more.

Financial Aid Guide: This online guide is simple to use. You can click on any chapter heading in the table of contents section and it will take you to the page with the desired information!

Important Dates: It’s always recommended to keep a list of important dates readily available as to not miss any.

You can also attend College Goal Wisconsin.

College Goal Wisconsin is a free event held at various locations across Wisconsin and is mean to assist families by providing information and assistance in regards to the FAFSA. This year it will take place Feb. 23-24 at various locations around the state, one of which is UW Oshkosh!

Hope that helps! :)

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