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FAFSA Tips

TIPS FOR COMPLETING THE 2013-2014 FAFSA is designed to answer some of the questions students and parents have when completing the FAFSA.

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid; with FREE being the key word. You do not need to pay to complete your FAFSA. The online FAFSA application is found at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. Be very careful if you conduct an internet search for "FAFSA". You may be directed to other websites that charge a fee for submitting your FAFSA. It is best to avoid these alternate websites. If you need advice on how to fill out your FAFSA, contact us here in the MLC Financial Aid Office, or call the FAFSA helpline at 1-800-433-3243 (1-800-4FEDAID).

Submit your FAFSA and MLC Financial Aid Application as early as possible. April 15, 2013, is the deadline to be considered for MLC need-based grants. May 15, 2013, is another important date. You may receive a request to verify data on the FAFSA. Applicants who provide verification materials by May 15th receive priority consideration for MLC need-based grants.

  • You and your parents should complete 2012 income tax returns prior to completing the FAFSA. If this is not possible, file your FAFSA using estimated tax figures and make corrections after you have filed your tax returns.
  • File your FAFSA by using FAFSA on the Web: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.  Before beginning your FAFSA on the Web, complete the 2013-2014 FAFSA ON THE WEB WORKSHEET, or print out the worksheet from the website and complete it first before entering the data on the web. Most errors on the FAFSA are made because students and/or parents fail to read the instructions or don't fully understand the instructions.  Please read ALL of the FAFSA instructions.  If you are still unclear, contact the MLC financial aid office 1-507-354-8221 or the FAFSA help desk at 1-800-433-3243
  • The FAFSA on the Web allows families to transfer information provided on federal tax returns directly from the IRS database to the FAFSA on the Web. This IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) is by far the quickest and most efficient method to retrieve your tax information. Use of the IRS DRT makes it less likely that your FAFSA will be chosen for verification, and if it is chosen, the verification process will be much simpler.
    • The IRS DRT will be available for use beginning on February 3, 2013.  If you file your tax returns electronically, the DRT will be available to you two to three weeks after your taxes were filed. If you file paper tax returns, the DRT will be available to you eight weeks after you file your taxes.
    • When using the IRS DRT, you will be prompted to enter your street address.  This is one of the items the IRS uses to match your FAFSA with your IRS data. Please be sure to enter your address exactly as it appears on your tax return.  For example, if you entered “Avenue” on your tax return, do not enter “Ave.” on your FAFSA.

ADDITIONAL TIPS

  • Be sure to keep a copy of your FAFSA, your tax return, and your W-2's.
  • When there is no monetary value to report for an item, use -0- (zero).  Do not leave an item blank.
  • When your FAFSA is complete, sign your FAFSA electronically.  Missing signatures cause delays in processing, so don’t overlook this step.  Students and parents may apply for a personal identification number (PIN) from the Department of Education.  You, and your parent if you are a dependent student, will then be able to sign your FAFSA electronically.  You may obtain your PIN by going to http://www.pin.ed.gov/ .
  • After the FAFSA is submitted, you will receive an output document called the Student Aid Report, or SAR.  The SAR will indicate your family's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and tell you if you are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant.  The EFC is basically an index used to measure ability to pay relative to other families.  The Financial Aid Office also uses it to determine MLC need-based grants.  Carefully review the SAR to look for any errors.
  • NOTE:  If your FAFSA is selected for verification, we will inform you of the documents that you are required to submit to the Financial Aid Office.  If federal income tax information is required, the U.S. Department of Education requires an IRS Tax Return Transcript to be provided rather than a copy of your tax returns.  If necessary, we will inform you how to obtain a copy of your transcript.
  • REMEMBER, TO BE CONSIDERED FOR NEED-BASED MLC GRANTS, SUBMIT THE FAFSA TO THE FAFSA PROCESSOR, AND THE MLC FINANCIAL AID APPLICATION TO THE MLC FINANCIAL AID OFFICE NO LATER THAN APRIL 15, 2013.