FAFSA can be overwhelming for incoming freshman and first time college parents. Kim Nida, assistant director of financial aid at Black Hills State University, has some tips and tricks to keep things simple for everyone involved.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be overwhelming for incoming freshman and first time college parents. Kim Nida, assistant director of financial aid at Black Hills State University, has some tips and tricks to help clarify.
- Tax information
To fill out the 2020-2021 FAFSA, students and parents must use their 2018
tax information. With the data retrieval tool within the FAFSA, this step is super simple in the application. However, not all of the information transfers, so it is helpful to have your tax information in front of you or open in another tab or window on your browser.
- Numbers You Need to Know
If you don’t have your social security number memorized by now, you probably will by the end of college. Students need to know their social security for the form, driver’s license number, and Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. Both the parent, (only one parent needs to), and the student create an account to gain an FSA ID. This identification number is what students use to log into certain U.S. Department of Education websites. “The hardest part of the application is remembering and keeping track of all the log-on information and the FSA ID,” says Stacy Chadwick, mother of a current BHSU student. Consider keeping an excel sheet with all of your IDs, usernames, and passwords or a specific notebook that you keep in your desk drawer.
- The Earlier the Better
The priority deadline or “early bird” date to complete the FAFSA is Sunday, Dec. 1. “A few programs have a limited amount of funding, so the earlier a student applies, the more benefits they will be able to reap, if eligible,” Nida shares.
Kayla Chadwick from Hettinger, N.D., majors in accounting and economics and finance at BHSU. Kayla was awarded a grant because she and her parents applied before the priority deadline. “I 100 percent recommend filling out FAFSA as early as possible, we always fill mine out in October when it first opens,” Chadwick encourages.
Don’t be nervous. Sometimes the FAFSA can be a little overwhelming, but according to Stacy Chadwick the form is fairly straightforward. Filing for FAFSA is not required as a student, but it is highly recommended to evaluate what aid may be available to pay for college. Most commonly, students are awarded loans, but there is also opportunity to receive scholarships, grants, and federal work-study. Nida says that 91 percent of BHSU students receive some sort of financial aid. Eventually, filling out FAFSA becomes a bit more routine for both the parent and student. It’s like riding a bicycle, Stacy says, “I filled out FAFSA when I went to college which really helped when it came to helping fill out my son’s FAFSA. There were a couple of small things that I forgot and needed reminding, but it was not very complicated.”
About Financial Aid at BHSU
Financial aid is an important part of helping you reach your educational goals. BHSU works with you to find the best individualized way to pay for your education. The staff are trained financial aid personnel who have years of experience in student financial aid to help with any questions you might have on loans, grants, or work-study.
For more information contact visit www.BHSU.edu/financialaid
or contact the Financial Aid Office at 605-642-6913 or BHSUfinancial@BHSU.edu