It’s that time of year again! It’s time to start thinking about filing the 2011-2012 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For many, this can be an overwhelming process, so here are a few tips to help make your FAFSA filing experience less stressful.
- Many traditional schools require the FAFSA to be filed no later than March 1st. Granite State College, however, does not have a filing deadline since our institution provides Adult and Continuing Education classes with rolling admissions. This means that our students can apply for Financial Aid at any point during the year. We do strongly encourage our students to apply by May 1st if possible so they will be considered for any State Grants available. However, if students file after the priority filing date, they will still be considered for the federal aid programs including the Federal Pell Grant and the Stafford Loan Programs.
- Students must be enrolled at least Part Time to be eligible to receive federal financial aid. Each school determines what they consider to be Part Time Classes and for Granite State College, students are required to take at least four credits to be eligible for aid. This means that our students who want to Take College Classes Online or in one of our centers, but can only do one class per term are still eligible to receive Federal Financial Aid.
- For those students who recently got married, please be very careful when filing your new FAFSA. If you have not received confirmation from Social Security that your name has been updated in their system, you do not want to file your FAFSA using your married name. This will cause the FAFSA to reject. Always file your FAFSA using your legal name; this means the name that is listed on your Social Security card. Do not use abbreviations or nicknames either as this will cause the FAFSA to reject as well.
- If at the time you filed your previous year’s tax return you were married, but you are now separated or divorced, still use the joint income listed on the tax return when filing your FAFSA. The Office of Financial Aid can separate out your income to reflect a more accurate financial picture, but will need additional documentation to do so. You will be required to complete a Special Circumstance form. Once your documents are received, the Office of Financial Aid will review them and make any adjustments possible to the information listed on the FAFSA. It is required that the Office of Financial Aid makes these adjustments since any change to a student’s income must be fully documented for audit purposes.
- To be considered a veteran, you must have served on Active duty and must have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. If your service was only for training purposes such as the National Guard or Reserves, you are not considered a veteran for federal financial aid purposes.
- The number one mistake students make is leaving a field blank. All income questions must be completed. If the answer is zero or the questions do not apply to you, write in a zero. Do not use dashes or leave the question blank.
- If you have an unborn child who will be born before or during the award year (July 1 through June 30th) and that child will receive more than half of his or her support from you, you can count that child as a member of your household when answering the household and dependents questions on the FAFSA.
- Always remember to electronically sing your FAFSA with your PIN. The FAFSA will not be considered valid until your signature is applied.
For more tips and instructions, check out this FAFSA Video.
As always, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at Granite State College at 603-513-1392 with any questions or concerns. Happy Filing!