Considering the large percentage of American families that have little to nothing in the way of financial assets and that their income is derived from standard W-2 wage income, that may be true – on average. However, like most statistics regarding financial aid, I would take it with a bucket of salt.
Many families will have more complicated situations and completing the FAFSA can be difficult and time consuming. Or you might have a question about a particular type of asset or source of income. To get some help, consider these free resources.
The FAFSA website
The FAFSA website is a great source for information regarding the FAFSA form. In fact, this is exactly where you will need to go when you complete your FAFSA online. But where do you go when you are stuck on a line and have a question? I suggest contacting them directly. You can do that here. I have used both the online chat as well as the 800 number. One of the things I like about the “Chat with us” option is that you can print out a transcript of the conversation – just in case your FAFSA is ever questioned.
College Goal Sunday (or any other day)
College Goal Sunday offers free, on-sight professional help completing the FAFSA form. Don’t let the name fool you. The College Goal program can be offered any day of the week and is typically done at a local high school or college. MN College Goal offers workshops around the state. Here is a list of MN workshops coming up soon.
These workshops are an opportunity to sit down with a financial aid professional and get one-on-one help filling out your FAFSA form. Best of all it’s free! To get the most out of it, you will want to come prepared. The College Goal website provides a list of things you will need to bring.
High School Financial Aid Night
Many high schools also offer additional information and help completing the FAFSA form. “Financial Aid Night” can come in different forms, but most of the time a financial aid officer from a local college or some other similarly qualified financial aid professional will walk parents through the FAFSA form and help them understand the basics so they can complete the form on their own. The best schools offer multiple opportunities for parents and students to learn about paying for college. To learn more check out your school’s website or ask your student’s guidance counselor about their financial aid night.
There are many ways to sharpen the saw when it comes to learning about financial aid and paying less for college. If you follow this blog, you’ve learned about many of them here. Most of them are completely free.
One of my favorites is Edvisors.com. Download their guide to completing the FAFSA form, Filing The FAFSA. When it comes to line-by-line instructions on how to fill out the FAFSA, you won’t find a better resource anywhere, at any price. And yes, it’s free.