Help on filling out the FAFSA

Sandra Block writes in USA Today that the financial paperwork grind known as FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) has begun for those seeking financial aid.

She has a number of tips and links for those needing help filling out the form.

You can read the full article here. Below is what has changed this year:

What’s new:

•You won’t have to answer questions that don’t apply to you. For years, the Department of Education has talked about shortening the FAFSA. That process still has a long way to go. However, the government has improved the use of “skip logic” technology to streamline the process, says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org. For example, if the amount of family assets won’t affect the student’s eligibility for aid, the program automatically omits questions about those assets.

•You’ll be required to include the name of the student’s high school, along with the city and state it’s located in. The government added this to the FAFSA in an effort to help high schools identify students who haven’t submitted the application and encourage them to do it, Kantrowitz says.

•The confirmation page from the Department of Education will include an estimate of the amount of federal student loans the student is eligible for, based on the student’s grade level and dependency status. This addition may encourage students to take full advantage of federal student loans before they resort to more expensive private student loans, Kantrowitz says.