Remember, too, that when you submit the FAFSA form you’re also automatically applying for grants, scholarships, and loans from states and schools, which may have earlier deadlines than the federal deadline. If you’re applying to multiple schools, check their deadlines and apply by the earliest one. Myth 7: I need to file my 2023 taxes before completing the FAFSA form. FACT: No, you’ll use your 2022 tax information to apply for student aid for the 2024-25 award year. You do not need to update your FAFSA form after filing your 2023 taxes because only the 2022 information is required. If your financial situation has changed in the last year, you should still complete the FAFSA form with the 2022 information, submit your FAFSA form, and contact the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend to discuss how your financial situation has changed. Myth 8: You have to have good grades to get a financial aid package. FACT: Applying for admission into school is different from applying for financial aid. Good grades may help with academic scholarships, but most federal student aid programs don’t consider grades for your first FAFSA form. In subsequent years, you’ll have to meet certain academic standards defined by your school (also known as satisfactory academic progress) to continue receiving financial aid. Myth 9: Since I’m self-supporting, I don’t have to include my parents on the FAFSA form. FACT: Not necessarily. You need to know how the FAFSA form defines a dependent student. The form asks questions to determine your dependency status. You’ll also need to learn who is defined as a parent for FAFSA purposes. Requirements for being considered an independent student go beyond living on your own and supporting yourself. Myth 10: I should not fill out the FAFSA form until I’m accepted to school. FACT: That’s another widespread FAFSA misconception. Do it as soon as possible. To receive your information, the FAFSA form requires you to list at least one school, but you should list any schools you’re thinking about, even if you haven’t applied or been accepted. And don’t worry schools can see only their own information; they will not be able to see other schools on your FAFSA form. You can add up to 10 schools. If you want to add another after submitting your FAFSA form, log in at fafsa.gov and submit a correction. If you decide not to apply or attend a school on your FAFSA form, the school will disregard it. Myth 11: If I haven’t received enough student aid, I’m out of options. FACT: Don’t give up! Check out these options if you didn’t receive enough financial aid. These options can help you fill in the gap between the financial aid you’ve been offered and your school’s cost. Things like applying for scholarships, asking the school for a reevaluation, or finding part-time work are all ways to fill the gap.
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