The Most Important Things Counselors Should Tell Students About Applying for Federal Aid

Tuition is expensive. Have a conversation about your family’s expectations regarding how college will be covered. It’s good to be on the same page before you apply for aid.

Have a Family Conversation

Plan to Fill Out the FAFSA

FAFSA   is a registered trademark of the US Department of Education and is not affiliated with Discover   Student Loans.




Try to fill out the FAFSA as soon as it's released. Some aid is first come, first served, so fill it out as soon as you can.

Start Filling out the FAFSA Early

The FAFSA is free to fill out and is accessible at Steer clear of other sites or programs that claim to fill in the FAFSA for you for a fee.

Watch Out for Scams

Save time and avoid mistakes using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA form, which fills in tax information.

Use Data Retrieval Tools on the FAFSA Application

You’ll use this every year, so make sure you keep your information safe.

Safeguard Your FSA ID

You can begin sending your FAFSA info to up to ten schools even before you’ve sent in your college apps. More schools? You can send your SAR report when you receive it.

Send Your FAFSA to Your Schools

Make sure all info is correct. Errors can be corrected online. Then, make sure your SAR is sent to any new schools on your application list.

Review Your SAR

If your award letter package isn’t what you expected, call the school. Packages can be updated if your financial situation has changed. Even if your finances are the same, some schools may negotiate.

Know Your Options for Appealing or Negotiating

The grants and loans in your financial aid package may not be enough.  In this case, it may be a good idea to consider whether a private student loan is right for you.

Finalize Your Tuition Plan

College Planning Calendar

Stay on track as you navigate each step of the college planning process.