We're back with Financial Aid Manager Stephanie Feucht, who is urging Eagles to fill out the FAFSA--and reminding students that, if you want advice about paying for college, NWTC has experts here to help! She also sent along excerpts from a list of common mistakes on the FAFSA.gov web site.
What to watch out for when applying for financial aid
1. Not Completing the FAFSA Form
We hear all kinds of reasons: “The FAFSA form is too hard.” “It takes too long to complete.” “I’ll never qualify anyway, so why does it matter?” It does matter.... The FAFSA form is not just the application for “free money” such as the Federal Pell Grant, it’s also the application for Federal Work-Study funds, federal student loans, and even scholarships and grants offered by your state, school, or private organization. If you don’t complete the FAFSA form, you could lose out on thousands of dollars to help you pay for college. It doesn’t take too much time to complete, and there is help text provided for every question.
2. Not Filling Out the FAFSA Form as Soon as It’s Available
If you want to get the most financial aid possible, fill out the FAFSA form ASAP. Some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, and some states and colleges run out of money early. (NOTE - Wisconsin is one of those first-come, first-served states, so apply ASAP!)
3. Not Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT)
For many applicants, the most difficult part about filling out the FAFSA form is entering the financial information. But thanks to a partnership with the IRS, students and parents who are eligible can automatically transfer their necessary 2018 tax information into the 2020–21 FAFSA form using the IRS DRT. It’s the fastest, most accurate way to enter your tax return information into the FAFSA form, so if you’re given the option to “LINK TO IRS” button, take advantage of it!
4. Not Signing the FAFSA Form
So many students answer every single question that is asked but fail to actually sign the FAFSA form with their FSA ID and submit it. This happens for many reasons—maybe you forgot your FSA ID, or your parent isn’t with you to sign with the parent FSA ID—so your application is left incomplete. Don’t let this happen to you.
- If you don’t know your FSA ID, select “Forgot username” and/or “Forgot password.”
- If you don’t have an FSA ID, create one.
If you’re not able to sign with your FSA ID, there’s an option to mail a signature page. If you would like confirmation that your FAFSA form has been submitted, you can check your status immediately after you submit your FAFSA form online.
Bottom line: Don't give up!
There are so many ways to make college affordable, including work-study, apprenticeships, payment plans and more. There are also ways we can help if you have unusual circumstances. Check out www.nwtc.edu/PayingForCollege to learn more, or call NWTC's friendly experts at 920-498-5444 and they'll walk you through it. We're here for you, Eagles and future Eagles!