Options for FAFSA Renewal
Any college student who needs financial aid soon figures out that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a critical part of the process of paying for college. Whether a student is deemed dependent or independent of parents, schools rely on financial information reported in the FAFSA to create a unique financial aid package that may include:
- Federal loans
- Federal grants
- The Federal Work-Study program
- School-specific grants
- State grants
Students who require financial aid to achieve their college goals are not alone. The National Center for Education Statistics has collected some of the following revealing data on how many students used the federal aid system to pay for school in 2011-12:
- At 4-year private for-profit schools, 83 percent of students received student loan aid, compared to 53 percent at public institutions.
- About 76 percent of first-time, full-time undergraduates at 4-year private for-profit schools received federal grants compared to 39 percent at 4-year public schools.
- At 2-year public schools, 33 percent of students received state or local grants compared to 7 percent at private for-profit schools.
- At 2-year private non-profit schools, about 32 percent of students received school-specific grants compared to 11 percent at public schools and private for-profit schools.
No matter the type of aid received, one thing is certain – all students who receive aid first completed a FAFSA. The FAFSA is available online or by downloadable PDF. Students who want an overview of the process are best advised to download a paper copy, review it, and then file online for convenience and ease.
Students are required to file a FAFSA for each year of academic study. Returning students who have filed a FAFSA for a previous academic term can benefit from the FAFSA renewal process. Simply log in to the FAFSA application and select “Returning User.” In order to use the FAFSA renewal application, returning students will need their FSA ID. In addition, students must have their (or their parents’) tax filing information and any other applicable income information that covers the upcoming term of academic study.
Whether a student is completing a FAFSA for the first time, or a renewal application, it is most important to observe the FAFSA deadlines. Students should consult the official FAFSA Deadlines table for information on federal and state deadlines. Students are also advised to check with their school for any school-specific deadlines. In addition to the initial deadline, there may be a deadline to make any corrections.
A main benefit of the FAFSA renewal application is that it will automatically populate fields of information that likely have not changed, and you will have the option to edit any of this information. It’s an abbreviated process designed for your ease.
After completing the FAFSA renewal, students will have access to their Student Aid Report (SAR). This document provides a summary of information reported on the FAFSA, provides basic information about eligibility for financial aid, and includes any Expected Family Contribution that has been calculated.
To ensure receipt of an online SAR, a student must provide an email address on the FAFSA. Once the FAFSA is submitted, the student applicant will receive an email with instructions on how to access an online copy of the SAR. It is important to review the SAR for accuracy and make any necessary edits to the FAFSA as soon as possible.
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