Archive for the ‘Scholarships & Financial Aid’ Category

What You Need to Complete the FAFSA

Filling out the FAFSA may seem overwhelming at first. If you’re getting ready to fill out your FAFSA, don’t delay; the faster you submit it, the more aid you’re likely to receive.

One of the most important parts of filling out your FAFSA quickly and accurately is preparation. Here’s everything you’ll need to gather before you should get started.

What you’ll need

  • Your social security number and your parents’ social security numbers
  • Your driver’s license
  • W-2 forms
  • Your parents’ federal tax return from the previous year if you’re applying for aid for the 2016-2017 academic year. Don’t wait to fill out the FAFSA if you don’t have this yet – you can provide an estimate to get the FAFSA in quickly and adjust it at a later date. If you’re applying for aid for the 2017-2018 school year or later, you use the tax returns from two years ago.
  • Current bank statements
  • Stock, bond, mutual fund, and investment information
  • Your alien registration card or permanent resident card (for non-U.S. citizens)
  • Your FSA ID
  • Child support information, if your parents are divorced

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IRS Data Retrieval Tool

Each year, millions of students and parents use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer income and tax information from their federal income tax returns into the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This saves them time and reduces the likelihood that the FAFSA will be selected for verification. It also improves the accuracy of the FAFSA. Read the rest of this entry »

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President Obama’s Pell Grant Proposals

flag-16683_640President Obama has proposed two improvements to the Federal Pell Grant program in the FY2017 budget request. The changes are aimed at increasing the rate of on-time and accelerated degree attainment by low-income students.

  • Pell for Accelerated Completion would resurrect the year-round Federal Pell Grant program, allowing students to receive Federal Pell Grants for summer classes. Unlike the previous version of this program, which ended in 2011, the new year-round Federal Pell Grants would be limited to students who are enrolled full-time. (Generally, students who are enrolled half-time are half as likely to graduate as students who are enrolled full-time.)
  • On-Track Pell Bonus would reward Federal Pell Grant recipients who take 15 credits per semester instead of 12 with an extra $300. Current rules treat 12 credits a semester as full-time enrollment. But, students who want to graduate in 4 years need to take 15 credits a semester.

About 700,000 students would benefit from the expanded Federal Pell Grant program.

The Pell proposals seem to be gaining bipartisan support, in part because the $2 billion/year increase in the cost of the Federal Pell Grant program is relatively low and the program has a budget surplus.

Given that Bachelor’s degree recipients pay more than twice as much federal income tax, on average, as high school graduates, the increase in graduation rates would likely pay for the increased cost.

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