FAFSA Tips


  • The deadline to submit the FAFSA is June 30, 2012, but March 1, 2012 to be eligible for the RI Scholarship of $700.
  • If you are applying to more than 10 colleges, add the first 10 schools, submit, and wait until the application is processed and sent to those schools (3-5 days). Once it is processed, delete the schools on the list and add any additional schools. Remember to repeat this process every time corrections are made to the application.
  • Do not leave any question blank. If not applicable or zero, enter “0”. 
  • Do not skip any questions, even if the form indicates that you may not be required to supply some information. 
  • When you click on an empty field, be sure to read the instructions that appear in the sidebar to be sure that you are entering the correct information.
  • If you are a male between the ages of 18 and 25, be sure to register with the Selective Service. You can do so within the FAFSA on the Web, or directly with the Selective Service at www.sss.gov. In most cases, failure to register with the Selective Service will make you ineligible for federal financial aid.
  • If one or both of your parents are undocumented, enter 0s for their Social Security Number(s).
  • If your parents are divorced, you will only have to provide information about the parent you lived with the most in the last year. If you lived with both parents for an equal amount of time in the last year, provide information about the parent who provided the most financial support to you. If that parent has remarried, you will need to report parents’ marital status as ‘married’ on the FAFSA and provide income and asset information for your stepparent.
  • For household size, only include any immediate family member who receives more than 50% support from the income earner. Note that household size and tax exemptions are not necessarily the same.
  • If your family has unusual circumstances (such as divorce, death of a parent, loss of employment, loss of income or benefits, homelessness, unusually high medical expenses, active military service, natural disaster, foster care placement, etc.) that might affect your need for student financial aid, please be sure to consult with the financial aid office at the college you plan to attend. The financial aid director may be able to use professional judgment to adjust your financial aid eligibility.
  • When you create your Student PIN, make sure you choose a 4-digit number that you can easily remember, like your birth year. Use the same PIN when you create your Parnet PIN. If you have an older sibling who has filled out the FAFSA, however, find out the Parent PIN they used and use that one as well. Write down your PINs and answer to the Challenge Question you choose and store them in a safe place. These will remain the same when you file your FAFSA in the future.
  • After the FAFSA is submitted, you should receive an output document called the Student Aid Report (SAR). You will receive an e-mail with a link to this information within three to five days. The SAR will indicate your family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) (how much the federal government believes your family can contribute to your college education whether your family plans to contribute anything at all or not) and tell you if you are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant. Carefully review the SAR to look for any errors. File corrections to your FAFSA if necessary by logging back into your account.
  • Once you or your parent(s)/guardian(s) complete your/their 2011 taxes, make the appropriate corrections to your FAFSA by logging back into your account.
  • If one or more of your schools requires Verification (if so, you will receive notification directly from the Financial Aid Offices at the schools you are applying to), you will need to send them your completed Verification Forms, copies of your parent’s/parents’/guardian’s/guardians’ and your tax forms, and/or your Student Residency Materials.
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