College Goal Sunday

If you have been following the Financial Aid Sense BLOG, you know that families should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for financial aid. Financial Aid Sense is full of solid information about applying for financial aid for college. In addition, we also wanted to share that there are additional resources available to assist families with the financial aid application process and with FAFSA completion.

College Goal Sunday is a well-developed program that offers assistance with FAFSA completion. Programs are offered in every state and support families with FAFSA completion. Open a web browser and type in “College Goal Sunday” plus the name of your state, to connect to your state-specific College Goal Sunday event.

Who should participate in College Goal Sunday? Anyone who is seeking financial aid to pay for college, whether a traditional student right out of high school or an adult who is pursuing higher education.  College Goal Sunday helps students (regardless of their age) and their families complete the FAFSA. The FAFSA is a required when applying for financial aid, thus it is important to complete the FAFSA by the stated deadlines.

Most families need assistance paying for college related expenses, and completing the FAFSA is the first step in the college aid process.  The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an integral component of the financial aid application process and key to accessing financial aid resources, such as grants, work-study, and student loans.

For additional information on the FAFSA, please see the following resources on this website.

Financial Aid Application Process


Financial Aid Application Myths


New FAFSA Available NOW

Free Application for Federal Student Aid

Give the gift of knowlege! Check out Financial Aid Sense ~ a vital read for anyone needing financial aid for college. This resource will walk you through the entire financial aid application process, scholarship search process, award letter comparison, and college financing options. All in one handy guide. Pick up a copy today and keep it with you throughout the process! Checklists, case studies and handy guides are all included and will guide you through the entire process. Don’t miss out on financial aid opportunites – Financial Aid Sense is there to assist you!

"Financial Aid Sense Supports National GRACE Foundation"  "Financial aid book and resource for college"

Jan Marie Combs, EzineArticles Basic Author

New FAFSA Out Soon

The new FAFSA for the 2017-2018 academic year is available now! The FAFSA can be completed at  Pick up a copy of Financial Aid Sense today so you have good information along the way!

For information about the financial aid application process and the college financing process in general, visit Financial Aid Sense for newly updated information. Subscribe to the Financial Aid Sense BLOG so that you can stay informed during the entire financial aid process.

"Financial aid book and resource for college"

Jan Marie Combs, EzineArticles Basic Author


What is the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a central component of the college financial aid application process. Essentially, the FAFSA is used to determine eligibility for all federal financial aid programs, most state aid programs, as well as institutional aid programs at both private and public colleges and universities. With that said, it is vital that families file the FAFSA each year and by the stated deadlines. The FAFSA for the 2017-18 became available on October 1, 2016 and should be filed by the deadline set by the college’s financial aid office. So for example, if a student would like to enroll in college for the Fall 2017 semester, the 2017-2018 FAFSA should be filed in the Fall of 2016 or thereabouts. Applying early and/or time can make the difference in the amount of financial aid one may be eligible for in some cases due to program allocations.

What Information do I Need to Complete the FAFSA?

The FAFSA asks for information about the college bound student and about their parent(s)/guardian(s), including demographic information and financial information, including income and assets. In order to accurately complete the FAFSA, there are a number of documents/information that will prove useful during FAFSA completion. This information includes: 1) social security number, 2) student driver’s license, if applicable, 3) 2015 Federal Income Tax Form (for the 2017 2018 FAFSA) and/or final paystub from December 2015, 4) 2015 Untaxed Income Records, 5) current bank and investment account statements, 6) W-2 and 1099 Forms or other earnings records. Gathering the information prior to starting the FAFSA can prove helpful and speed up completion time. In addition to gathering necessary documents, it is very helpful to visit the FAFSA website and download the PDF version of the FAFSA. Familiarizing oneself in advance with the form will prove helpful.

When do I Complete the FAFSA?

For the 2017-2018 academic year, the FAFSA can be completed beginning on October 1, 2016.

How do I Complete the FAFSA?

It is strongly recommended to complete the FAFSA online at as the online version has built in edit-checks that reduce key errors, ultimately streamlining processing and increasing form accuracy. Also, by completing the FAFSA online, one can quickly make any necessary corrections and updates to the FAFSA and easily send colleges and universities the processed FAFSA information.

Once online, both the student and parent(s) need to first establish a FSA ID in order to begin the process (the student will have their own ID and a parent will have their own ID number as well).  Each FSA ID can be obtained by visiting the FAFSA site and following the instructions carefully. Once receiving the FSA IS, it should be kept confidential and used to access federal student aid online documents, including the FAFSA and future loan documents, if applicable. After establishing the FSA ID, one should then proceed to the site and begin the FAFSA, being careful to accurately answer all questions. After finishing the FAFSA, print the CONFIRMATION if possible, or at a minimum make note of the confirmation number and date that the FAFSA was filed. After filing the FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) which should be reviewed carefully.  Corrections to the FAFSA data can be made on the SAR. More information on the Student Aid Report (SAR) can be found by clicking this link.

Things to Know When Completing the FAFSA

Following are some important FAFSA TIPS to remember:

The FAFSA needs to be completed each and every year that a student wants financial aid.

The FAFSA is in the name of the STUDENT as it is their application for financial assistance.

The majority of financial aid program eligibility is determined via the FAFSA. Every student should complete the FAFSA each year.

Other helpful articles related to the financial aid application process include:

Sources of Financial Aid

Free Application for Federal Student Aid

CSS Profile Form

Financial Aid Application MYTHS

Financial Aid Estimator FAFSA4caster Tool

Student Aid Report (SAR)

Financial Aid Sense 

The financial aid and college financing processes can be very confusing. Although there is a lot of good information available online, many families find that our newly updated financial aid guide is a helpful resource. Replete with action item lists and reminders, financial aid application tips, case studies and related explanations, check lists and more, Financial Aid Sense will guide you through the entire financial aid process. Don’t miss out on financial aid opportunities! Pick up a copy today!

"Financial Aid Book"

Jan Marie Combs, EzineArticles Basic Author

Financial Aid Estimator Tool FAFSA4Caster

The FAFSA4caster is a free tool made available by the U.S. Department of Education. The FAFSA4caster provides students with an early estimate of their eligibility for federal financial aid. Students considering a college education can use this free tool to calculate an estimate of their eligibility for federal financial aid, including possible grant sources.

This is an excellent resource for families to get a sense of what they may be expected to pay toward the cost of education and a preliminary indicator of possible financial aid sources available to them. The new FAFSA for the upcoming 2017-2018 academic year is available now! Each year, the new FAFSA will be available as early as October 1st. It is never too early to begin planning for and thinking about the college financial aid process.

Another benefit of using the FAFSA4caster tool is that families also get a preview of what it is like to complete the actual FAFSA, which may help to reduce the actual time it takes to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online once it is available and help better prepare a family for completing the FAFSA.

Check out the FAFSA4caster today!

Families may also find Financial Aid Sense to be an excellent resource – this guide will walk you through the entire college financing process. Full of check lists, reminders, action items and straight forward explanations of the college financing process, this guide is a valuable resource during the financial aid process. Keep a copy handy to refer to along the way! Don’t miss out on financial aid opportunities – pick up a copy of Financial Aid Sense today!

"Financial Aid Book"  This is a valuable guide for current high school seniors and for high school juniors planning ahead for college!

Jan Marie Combs, EzineArticles Basic Author

Financial Aid Application – CSS Profile Form

Although seniors in high school are focused on completing their applications for college admission, it is also important to focus energies on the college financing process as well.

Something to think about NOW, is the CSS Profile Form. The CSS Profile Form is a product of the College Board and is used by students to apply for non-Federal financial aid at hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States. Many private colleges require applicants to complete the CSS Profile Form as they use information recorded on the form to review student eligibility for scholarships and other aid programs offered by the individual private colleges. Although the CSS Profile Form is required by hundreds of colleges (private) in the country, it is not required by all private colleges. Since there is a hefty fee to complete this form (CSS Profile Form costs $25 to create and submit to one school; with additional schools it costs $16 per additional report ` A limited amount of fee waivers are available to low-income families), one should only complete the CSS Profile Form if it is required by the college(s) that you are applying to. Check the list of colleges that require this form on the College Board’s website before sending to colleges.

Student can begin completing the CSS Profile Form NOW! Students should submit it at least two weeks before the financial aid deadline at the colleges where you are applying. Check with the colleges for their specific deadlines and be sure to complete it on time.

When it comes to financial aid, the CSS Profile Form is often confused with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Please don’t confuse the two as they are two very different forms. There are many differences between the CSS Profile Form and the FAFSA, such as the type of aid they help you to apply for, the associated costs, timing of completion, and which schools require the forms. As stated above, there is a cost associated with completing the CSS Profile Form, however the FAFSA is FREE. Also, only some of the private colleges require the CSS Profile Form, however, ALL COLLEGES that administer Federal Financial Aid Programs REQUIRE the FAFSA to be completed every year. The CSS Profile Form can be completed beginning in October, however, the FAFSA application opens up beginning in January. The CSS Profile Form is used by colleges to evaluate applicants for institutional monies, whereby the FAFSA is used by ALL schools to evaluate applicants for eligibility for Federal Financial Aid Programs (including student loans, grants, and work programs).

Because the CSS Profile Form is used by private colleges to review student eligibility for private scholarships/financial aid programs specific to their individual college, these colleges may consider a wide range of factors when reviewing for aid eligibility, such as the value of a parent’s primary residence as well as life insurance contract values, for example. Because of this, private colleges may request varying information from applicants based on their awarding process. Be sure to fully complete the CSS Profile From and follow the instructions for each specific college.

Don’t delay! If you are applying to any private colleges, please check whether you need to complete the CSS Profile Form or not. If you do, complete it prior to the colleges deadline!

Don’t miss out on financial aid opportunities! Check out our newly updated publication ~ Financial Aid Sense which will guide you every step of the way! A vital read for anyone needing to finance a college education!  "Financial aid book and resource for college"


Jan Marie Combs, EzineArticles Basic Author

College Planning Timeline

With back to school upon us, I wanted to share a handy College Planning Action List that is a great guide to college bound High School Seniors. Lots to do this fall, and not just on the admissions front. Although students will be busy preparing their college admission applications, just as important is preparing for the financing aspects of a college education. We will be highlighting “To Do” items related to college financing in the coming months, but to start, please check out our College Planning Timeline for a good overview of necessary action items during the Fall Semester.

In addition to following the College Planning Action List, please be sure to pick up a copy of Financial Aid Sense: A Practical Guide about Financial Aid and College Financing. This is a vital read for anyone needing to finance the ever increasing cost of a college education. This guide will assist you through every step of the college financing process.

"Financial Aid Book"    "Customer Reviews for Financial Aid Sense"

Jan Marie Combs, EzineArticles Basic Author