PHEAA is reminding students and families that the 2007-08 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now available and should be completed as soon as possible.
The FAFSA is the form that determines eligibility for almost all types of federal, state and institutional student aid, including the Pennsylvania State Grant. Students and parents (in single parent households, the parent the student lives with most) will need to complete the form.
Families are encouraged to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible to ensure that all student aid deadlines are met. Tax information is required from students and parents so families should either file their taxes prior to completing the FAFSA or submit their FAFSA based on 2006 estimated tax information.
Traditional paper FAFSAs are available from school counselors, the postsecondary school students are planning to attend or the U.S. Department of Education by calling 800.4.FED.AID. Families may also submit the FAFSA electronically at EducationPlanner.org, PHEAA's college planning Website, or at fafsa.ed.gov.
EducationPlanner also offers a free FAFSA tutorial to help families better understand the FAFSA application. Filing your FAFSA electronically speeds up turnaround time and helps eliminate errors. Students and parents filing the FAFSA online will need a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to serve as their electronic signature. Visit pin.ed.gov to obtain your PIN before completing the FAFSA.
The federal government will send applicants and their chosen schools a Student Aid Report (SAR) about one week after filing electronically and one month after filing a paper FAFSA. The SAR identifies a student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) toward their education costs.
The difference between a student's annual education costs and their EFC determines their financial need. Those schools which a student is considering attending will use the information to ensure that the student receives the most comprehensive student aid package possible to cover their remaining costs.
If a student indicates an interest in student loans on the FAFSA, PHEAA will send him a Master Promissory Note (MPN). If an MPN is not received the student may complete an MPN online at PHEAA.org or contact a PHEAA customer service representative toll-free at 800-692-7392.
Students should always take advantage of gift aid, such as grants and scholarships, before taking out a student loan. However, when a student loan is necessary, students should exhaust all eligibility for low-cost federal student loans, such as PHEAA's KeystoneBEST student loan. KeystoneBEST is Pennsylvania's most affordable student loan program and can save borrowers thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
PHEAA Regional Directors will be offering a series of free FAFSA Completion Workshops throughout the Commonwealth from January through March. For a complete list of FAFSA Workshops, visit PHEAA.org, click on “Plan For College” and then click on “Complete the FAFSA” and “Locations & Registration” in the left-hand navigation bar.