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Surviving the FAFSA: A Step-by-Step Guide for College Students and Parents

Greetings, college students and parents!

As an educational consultant, I'm here to help you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) without losing your mind. So let's dive into the steps!

  1. Gather your materials: Get your social security and driver's license numbers, tax returns, investment assets, bank statements, and any untaxed income records, such as child support and interest income. Make sure you have all of these documents in one place.

  2. Apply for an FSA ID: You and your parents need separate FSA IDs. Don't lose these! If you forget your FSA ID, you'll have to answer a series of questions that are more complicated than your calculus homework.

  3. Submit your FAFSA: The priority deadline is March 2nd, but don't wait until the last minute! The government doesn't believe in procrastination. They'll penalize you with fewer financial aid options.

  4. *Download the Cal Grant Verification Form: If you're a California student, you'll need this to qualify for a Cal Grant. Your school will submit it to the California Student Aid Commission.

  5. Review your Federal Student Aid Report: After submitting your FAFSA, you'll receive an email with a link to your report. Follow the instructions if you need to make corrections or are chosen for verification. Pro tip: Avoid sending any red flags. No, you can't include your pet as a dependent.

  6. List up to 10 colleges on your FAFSA: You can add or remove schools later, so don't worry if you change your mind.

  7. Submit as soon as possible: The early bird gets the financial aid worm. The sooner you submit your FAFSA, the sooner each college can return an aid package. This means you'll have a better chance of receiving more aid. You can apply as soon as October 1st!

Completing the FAFSA can be stressful, but receiving financial aid for college is necessary for most of us. Just remember to gather all your materials, apply for your FSA ID, submit your FAFSA on time, review your report, list your schools, and submit as soon as possible.

And always keep a sense of humor! Remember, laughter is the best medicine for a stressed-out mind. Best of luck to all of you!

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