10 Easy-to-Make, Easy-to-Avoid Financial Aid Blunders
February 18, 2014
Don’t rush the process – any mistakes can cause serious delays in the process or, worse, disqualify you all together.
Filling out financial aid forms is challenging and a task, to say the least. But don’t rush the process – any mistakes can cause serious delays in the process or, worse, disqualify you all together.
Though these seem like common sense-covered areas, the following are errors that students frequently make when filling out financial aid forms.
Before submitting any financial aid or student loan applications, make sure to double check for the following:
1. Deadline? What deadline?
Hel-lo, Captain Obvious! Seriously, turn in your forms with plenty of time before the deadline so you won’t miss out on any important aid!
2. Numbers matter
With plenty of numbers involved, it’s easy to read them incorrectly when inputting them into any application documents. Look over your entries, because any mistakes can really delay the process.
3. Don’t be greedy
Don’t borrow more than you need! It’s important to remember that, especially if it’s financial aid you must pay interest on.
Only borrow what’s necessary, so you don’t accumulate unnecessary debt for the future.
4. Signing off
You’re so excited the form is finished that, whoops, you forgot to sign on the dotted line! Double check that all signatures required are filled in, whether it’s yours or a parent/guardian.
5. The right fields
Confusing tax and healthcare information can get mixed up – make sure you fill out each field with the right information, completely.
6. Mind the blanks
Don’t leave anything blank – double check your forms before submitting them!
7. Tossing your records
Save all of the documents for your records in case anything gets lost or goes missing. That way, you’ll have proof that you filled out your forms on time and won’t be counted out for financial aid consideration!
8. The whole picture
Make sure all of your parent/guardian information is accounted for so that your aid amount is accurate.
Also, you’re part of your household size – don’t forget to include yourself!
9. Don’t wait on taxes
Do not wait until you have filed your federal income tax returns to submit the FAFSA! You can use estimated numbers to complete the FAFSA, instead.
You’ll have the opportunity to correct any errors at a later date (US Department of Education will send an email reminder in April to update the FAFSA information after your federal income tax returns have been filed) and you will be required to update the application after your taxes are filed.
10. Not applying
Time and time again, students claim, “I’m not filing because there’s no way I’ll qualify for aid.”
The truth is, you never know until you apply and, in some cases, you must apply to be eligible for certain considerations, like scholarships.
Don’t cheat yourself out of the opportunity to get financial aid – apply no matter what!
Have you made any other silly financial aid blunders? Warn people below!
Need money to pay for college?
Every semester, Fastweb helps thousands of students pay for school by matching them to scholarships, grants and awards for which they actually qualify. Sign up today to get started. You'll find scholarships like the $2,000 "No Essay" Scholarship from Niche, a scholarship open to all U.S. students and those planning on enrolling within 12 months.