College bound students should fill out the FAFSA - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

College bound students should fill out the FAFSA

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL)-- This time of year it isn't just tax forms that need to be filled out. For many families with a college bound student, it is also FAFSA season.

For anyone connected to college financial aid, The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA form is a familiar document.

Dan Weichers is a guidance councilor at Cedar Falls High School. He says there are many families who think they do not qualify for the FAFSA, but that is just not true

"Everyone qualifies for federal student aid and the only way to find out how much is to supply the FAFSA. There are other institutional need based date that students qualify for through college, through private institutions that require the submission of the FAFSA," said Weichers.

Weichers has been a councilor for 10 years now when he started, families had only a paper form to file. Now families can choose to do the entire process online. He says if submitted online then results come back weeks before the paper FAFSA form.

When you do sit down to fill out the forms, you need to know your college's deadlines and get those forms in early.

"UNI asks students to submit the FAFSA as soon as possible. While other colleges are a February or March 1st deadline. That is something parents and students need to investigate before filling it out."

Weichers says the FAFSA forms are an important part of college planning.

"The majority of students in college are paying part or all of their way so filling out the FAFSA helps with grant money, loans, and scholarships that can help you pay for college."

To get started, you need to gather a few documents:

-Your social security card and your driver's licence

-Your W-2 forms

-Your federal income tax forms, if the student is still a dependant, you will need to have financial information for both the student and the parents.

-You'll want a copy of you current bank statement

-A copy of any investment records.

Remember, everyone is eligible to fill out the FAFSA form, regardless of income.

Here is a link to the FAFSA form: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/

Online Reporter: Nikki Newbrough 

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