WFMY News 2 -- Millions of families will complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in the next few weeks and months.
Many families will make mistakes when completing the FAFSA form and it will keep them from receiving assistance for which they qualify.
Guilford County Schools supervisor of high school counseling, Fredricca Stokes provides tips for parents and students who fill apply for federal student aid.
What do parents/students need to know about FAFSA?
Stokes: 1) Complete their taxes early. Filing your 2012 federal taxes early simplifies the process. 2) Check with the colleges or institutions of your choice to determine their deadlines for submitting FAFSA. 3) Each student and one parent should obtain a Personal Identification Number (PIN) from the Department of Education.
Are there any common mistakes when parents/students fill out their form?
Stokes: Filling out incorrect information as it relates to taxes, marital status, and social security number. You must put your parent or legal guardian tax information only. Keeping up with tax forms and other important documentation for verification. Others include losing you pin number, leaving questions blank instead of at least entering a zero.
What are some of the things you hear from students and parents when it comes to paying for college?
Stokes: Some parents and students are worried about how they will pay for college or if they will have enough money to pay for their child's post-secondary education.
If parents have kids who younger, is there anything they can do now to prepare for paying for college?
Stokes: Parents can start saving money now to pay for their child's education by opening 529 college savings plan. Parents can also check with their jobs to determine if they offer scholarships for their employee's children.
What resources are out there for financial aid other than FAFSA?
Stokes: I advise students to apply, apply, and apply for scholarships. No matter how small the scholarship amount is, if the student meets the criteria I recommend that the student apply. I encourage parents to check with their employer or if the student works for the student to check with their employer to see if they offer scholarships. Parents can also check with any civic group or organization that they are a part of to see if they offer scholarship money.
How can parents and students learn more about financial aid and paying for college?
Stokes: GCS has Parent Academy workshops on paying for college. Also there will be FAFSA Day held on Saturday, February 23rd. FAFSA Day is a program offered by College Foundation of NC, the NC Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the State Employees' Credit Union. Individuals will be available to assist parents with filling out there FAFSA at no cost. You can go to CFNC.org to register for FAFSA day.
WFMY News 2