How to hit the FAFSA ground running

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), the starting point to apply for need-based financial aid, becomes available October 1. And while most colleges have admission application deadlines that fall later (many in 2018), the sooner you file your FAFSA after October 1, the better.

This Wall Street Journal article shared two great tips to help families get ready for the FAFSA release.

1. Get a Federal Student Aid ID
You need a Federal Student Aid ID, obtainable at fsaid.ed.gov, to complete the FAFSA. But in the past, some families have experienced technical difficulties obtaining this, which meant they had to delay their FAFSA filing. The safe approach? Don’t wait—go to fsaid.ed.gov now and create one ID for the parent, one for the student (the student and parent must each get their own ID).

2. Gather your documents
To accurately report the FAFSA’s requested information, you’ll need your 2016 tax returns, as well as your most recent bank and brokerage statements.

Taking these two steps should help you hit the FAFSA ground running on October 1.