FAFSA - financial aid for single moms

How Do I Renew my FAFSA as a single mother?

FAFSA is financial aid for all students, but it certainly helps single moms send themselves or their kids to school. Although it may appear inconvenient, there’s a simple reason to renew your FAFSA. Financial and family circumstances can change from year to year, and this is why you need to complete and submit again to receive financial aid.

When you applied for financial aid last year, you completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application determines your eligibility for assistance for only one academic year.

For each year you want to apply for aid, you will need to complete a Renewal FAFSA. Good news, though – the Renewal FAFSA is prefilled with some of your information from the previous year. Updating information is more accessible than completing the entire FAFSA renewal form from scratch and typically takes less than an hour.

Now you won’t have to sit in front of your screen for hours entering forms and information, eventually wondering if sending your baby to college is even worth it (at the time, it didn’t seem like it was worth it).

The FAFSA renewal is for students who have already completed the FAFSA the previous year.

If you’re a returning student, you have the option of renewing your FAFSA or completing a new FAFSA only if your circumstances have changed significantly.

Financial Aid Renewal for Single Moms

Why should I renew or start a new FAFSA?

The FAFSA is the primary source of data that the federal government, states, and colleges use to award financial aid.

Any change – from income and family finances, marriage status, or even the number of siblings going to college – can affect your eligibility for loans, grants, scholarships, or need-based aid from your school. In addition, financial aid formulas often change, which can make it easier for you to qualify for awards to help pay for college.

Filing a renewal takes less time than it would typically take to answer all questions on the FAFSA, as much of it is already auto-filled for your convenience.

Unless your circumstances relevant to financial aid have changed significantly, the renewal process would be far quicker. 

What documents do I need?

To complete the FAFSA, you will need your FSA IDwhich acts as your signature, and most importantly, records of income earned in an earlier tax year.

This isn’t your first rodeo, so you’ll remember the checklist is long, so brace yourself. 

Here’s a checklist of documents you’ll need to get you started.

PERSONAL DOCUMENTS

  1.       Your Social Security Number (SSN) as the student
  2.       Driver’s license number and state of issuance (if any)
  3.       Alien Registration Number (if an eligible non-citizen)
  4.       FSA ID to sign electronically. If you do not already have one, you need to create one.

PROOF OF INCOME

  1.       Taxable income from W-2 & 1099 forms (if available)
  2.       Records of money earned or received from Federal Work-Study or other need-based work programs
  3.       Untaxed income, including workers’ compensation; child support; housing, food, and other living allowances; or veterans benefits, etc.

TAX DOCUMENTS

  1.       Your Federal Income Tax Return (1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) and your spouse’s, if you are married or
  2.       The equivalent foreign tax return (if applicable).

You now have the option of automatically retrieving your income and tax data from the IRS and having it transferred straight into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

When you reach the financial information section of the FAFSA, click “Link to IRS” to automatically prefill the form with your tax information.

ASSETS

  1.   Bank statements as of the date the FAFSA is completed
  2.   Business and investment information; business and farm records; stocks, bonds, and other investment records (as applicable)
  3.   If you are a dependent student, you may also need forms of your parent’s income information.
  4.   The Social Security Number(s) of your parent(s)
  5.   The income and financial records (as listed above) of your parent(s)

How do I renew my FAFSA online?

The steps are so simple!

  1.      Log in as a returning visitor.

Use your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID at FAFSA.ed.gov. Your FSA ID is a unique user name and password that allows you to identify yourself electronically and access the FSA website. Both the student and at least one parent of a dependent student will need FSA IDs.

If you don’t have your FSA ID or have forgotten your user name or password, don’t worry! You can get help with that online.

  1.     Click on the FAFSA renewal option.
  2.     Update your information
  3.     Sign and Submit

How to submit your Renewal FAFSA:

Finally! You’re almost there!

  1.       Sign the Renewal FAFSA with your FSA ID.
  1. If you are a dependent student, your parent will also have to sign with their FSA ID.
  2. Read the certification statement and click “Submit my FAFSA Now.”
  3. After you submit the Renewal FAFSA, print a copy of the Confirmation Page.

You will receive an email within five days informing you of your FAFSA renewal.

A special note to parents with two or more children in college: Complete the Renewal FAFSA for your oldest child first, then transfer a copy of the parental information to the FAFSAs of the younger children.

What is the deadline for Renewals?

All returning students should file a renewal as early as possible after October 1. That’s because some types of financial aid are first-come, first served.

You will report income from the earlier tax year and then update the income information on the Renewal FAFSA once you file your taxes. You can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer data about income from your federal income tax returns to the FAFSA.

The general deadline for each year is June 30th, meaning you have almost an entire year to process. I would check each state and university’s deadlines as well.

If you need help, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) for answers to questions about filing the FAFSA Renewal.

The Renewal FAFSA is available entirely for your convenience and quick service; if you prefer to start fresh with a new FAFSA, you can do that.

What Happens After I Submit my FAFSA?

When your application is complete, you and the financial aid offices of up to 10 schools listed on your FAFSA will receive an e-mail with a link to an online copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR) — usually within 3 to 5 days.

If you have an FSA ID, you may also access your Student Aid Report (SAR) through FAFSA on the Web or the myStudentAid app.

Your SAR is a paper or electronic document that specifies your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) — a significant number that will determine your need and eligibility for aid.

If the SAR does not arrive within three weeks, call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or log in to fafsa.gov to inquire about the status of your FAFSA.

Next, using the information on your student aid report, the schools will then determine your financial need and prepare a financial aid award package for you and, soon after, the award letter if they choose you.

Most schools send out financial aid award letters, as well as an offer of admission, one to three months after receiving your FAFSA information, usually in late March to early April but can vary from school to school.

How Do I Make Corrections to my FAFSA?

If the information on your FAFSA was incorrect as of the day you signed the FAFSA, you could make any necessary corrections to the data if you entered it incorrectly.

But keep in mind the following things you can’t change:

  1. Your Social Security Number (SSN). If your SSN is incorrect, you must complete an entirely new application with the correct SSN.
  2. Your financial information, unless it was incorrect as of the day you submitted the FAFSA.
  3. Your marital status, unless it was incorrect as of the day you submitted the FAFSA.

How do I make corrections to my FAFSA after submitting it?

  1. Online FAFSA corrections
  2. Paper FAFSA corrections
  3. Phone FAFSA corrections

How long does it take for a school to receive FAFSA corrections?

Once your correction is submitted, you’ll receive a confirmation number. They will process the change in 3-5 days in a typical situation. You will then receive a new Student Aid Report (SAR) that reflects the changes you have made.

There may be some unusual circumstances in which you will not be able to update or make corrections on your FAFSA – contact your school’s Financial Aid Office for assistance in such an event. If you’re looking for scholarships for single moms, read this article for more information.

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