FAFSA applications are open: here’s what you need to know

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is open for all college undergraduate and graduate students. The U.S. Department of Education offers federal aid in the forms of grants, loans, and work study. The application can be found online and takes 30 minutes to complete.

In order to fill out the FAFSA, students must create their own FSA ID, which gives them access to electronically sign the financial documents required. Dependent students require a parental signature on the forms. Therefore, parents must create their own FSA IDs as well. While completing the FAFSA, students must have their social security or permanent resident card, W-2 or other employment forms from the previous year and tax information on hand. Most families will be given the option to submit tax information from the IRS directly to their FAFSA form. Alongside financial information, students will also be required to fill out personal, parent and other financial income forms.

The FAFSA can be submitted to ten or more colleges. Each college uses their own formula to calculate how much financial aid will be rewarded to each student. According to the Federal Student Aid website, each college takes the cost of attendance and subtracts the expected financial contribution from the attendance amount, equaling the financial need awarded for each student.

As stated by the U.S. Department of Education, while there is currently no financial aid program specifically for homeless and foster care students, students are still encouraged to apply for the FAFSA, so long as they meet the eligibility requirements found on the federal aid website.

While each college offers a different financial package based on their own calculations, transfer students cannot transfer aid from one college to another. So long as the new transfer school is a part of the federal student aid programs, students may add that college to their FAFSA to receive an aid offer.

Currently, undocumented students and students that are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program are ineligible to receive federal aid. However, in Washington State, non-U.S. citizens can apply to the Washington Application for State Financial Aid to receive aid for college. The Washington Student Achievement Council states that students who do not meet the immigration status of federal aid can apply to Washington state aid programs, so long as they meet either the DACA standard or 1079 standard. In order to file the WASFA, students fill out a survey which will provide them with a link to the application. In order to complete the form, students must be able to file income forms, which include bank statements, W-2 forms and federal income tax returns. Dependent students under the age of 24 must also have a parent signature on their WAFSA application.

The deadline for both the FAFSA and WAFSA are June 30, 2020. However, as both are government aid programs, aid is awarded on a first come first serve basis. Hence, it is recommended students file either form as soon as possible.

In addition to the FAFSA and WAFSA, all Bellevue College students are required to fill out the BC Financial Aid Application. The form can be found on the Bellevue College website and requires information regarding a student’s program of study, third party funding and federal direct Stafford loan information.

For assistance regarding financial awards for college, students can send in requests to the Bellevue College Student Central or use the online chat feature while filling out the FAFSA. Bellevue College will also be hosting a FAFSA/WAFSA workshop on Dec. 12 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in room N209 to assist students and provide more information aid offers.

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