Q & A with Paying for College Expert Sallie Mae

college student faces paying for college

The FAFSA is an important part of the paying for college process.

Sallie Mae – the nation’s saving, planning, and paying for college company – was our featured guest on #CampusChat, Wednesday, September 21, 2016.

Our topic was “Sallie Mae discusses the FAFSA.” Below are the questions we asked and the answers Sallie Mae provided.

Q1 Why is it important to complete the #FAFSA? CampusChat

A1 The #FAFSA is the gateway to more than $150B in grants, work-study funds, and federal student loans. CampusChat

A1 The FAFSA is used to determine eligibility for federal and state aid, and some scholarships require it as part of their app. #CampusChat

#DidYouKnow: More than 2M students eligible for #financialaid did not complete the #FAFSA last year via @WhiteHouse. #CampusChat

Q2 Who should file the #FAFSA? #CampusChat

A2 You should file a FAFSA if you’re a high school senior applying to colleges or a college student starting a new school yr. #CampusChat

Q3 What do families need to know about this year’s #FAFSA changes? #CampusChat

A3 For the first time, the #FAFSA will be available on Oct. 1; that’s 3 months earlier! http://news.salliemae.com/press-release/featured/mark-calendar-applying-college-financial-aid-now-begins-oct-1-release-free-ap #CampusChat

A3 Families will use their 2015 tax info to complete the #FAFSA: http://sallie.cc/6001BAiNN #CampusChat

A3 Completing the #FAFSA earlier means families can receive important info like the Student Aid Report (SAR) sooner. #CampusChat

Q4 How can families can get a head start on the #FAFSA process? #CampusChat

A4 Families can get a head start by creating their Federal Student Aid ID username & password at www.fafsa.gov. #CampusChat

A4 If you’re a parent of a dependent student, you’ll need your own FSA ID to electronically sign your child’s FAFSA. #CampusChat

Q5 Ok, so the #FAFSA is moving to a new schedule. How will this affect families? #CampusChat

A5 Families may receive financial aid offers earlier and can then make better decisions on where they’d like to attend college. #CampusChat

A5 Using your 2015 tax return will help simplify the process as families will no longer need to estimate their taxes.#CampusChat

A5 Financial aid is awarded on a first-come basis. Filing the FAFSA on Oct. 1 can better the chance to be in line for that aid. #CampusChat

Q6 What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool? #CampusChat

A6 Conversely, for families who overlook the new Oct. kickoff, this can mean losing out on financial aid. #CampusChat

A6 The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows you to transfer your tax info directly into the FAFSA: https://fafsa.ed.gov/help/irshlp9.htm #CampusChat

A6 Asking families to use their 2015 tax return can mean more families will be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. #CampusChat


Q7 Do you have any tips and resources to help make the FAFSA process easier? #CampusChat

A7 File Early. Some schools & states aid money on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted. #CampusChat

A7 For ease, file online. When you submit the FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov, it will be processed within 3-5 days. #CampusChat

A7 Be sure to fill out the form completely. Mistakes on the FAFSA can delay the processing of your application. #CampusChat

A7 Here’s a fun visual to help families navigate the FAFSA process for academic year 2017-18: http://sallie.cc/6001BAiNN #CampusChat

Q8 What should families keep in mind about listing schools on the FAFSA? #CampusChat

A8 Some state aid is based on the order of how schools are listed. Consider listing state schools first on the FAFSA. #CampusChat

A8 Get more info on completing the FAFSA, including state deadlines, at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa.#CampusChat #CampusChat

Q9 How can parents and students avoid FAFSA scams? #CampusChat

A9 Submitting the FAFSA is absolutely FREE! Avoid websites that charge you to file your FAFSA or ask for any payment info. #CampusChat

Q10 Do families have to complete the FAFSA every year? #CampusChat

A10 Yes. Filing the FAFSA is an annual process. Complete it every year you’re in college. #CampusChat

Watch @SallieMae’s “Beginner’s Guide to FAFSA” video, to get more tips about completing and submitting the FAFSA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7WKF7zHpEA #CampusChat

A version of this transcript on paying for college is also available on Storify: FAFSA Tips with Sallie Mae.

Z. Kelly Queijo

Author: Z. Kelly Queijo

Kelly is founder of Smart College Visit and Smart College Consulting. When she's not creating content for the blog or clients, tweeting, or hosting #CampusChat, she's planning her next mobile move.

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