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Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the California Dream Act Application are now OPEN

Seniors!

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the California Dream Act Application are now OPEN beginning TODAY OCTOBER 1. Remember, the deadline to submit is MARCH 2, 2022, but we recommend completing this application by the end of December, as some schools require early submission.

REMEMBER: ALL SENIORS need to complete the FAFSA no matter which school you plan to attend. If you want FREE tuition at community college through the California Promise Program, one of the REQUIREMENTS is completing your FAFSA. The requirement is REGARDLESS of parent income, ALL seniors complete a FAFSA.

We will be offering 2 WORKSHOPS ON CAMPUS just for MHS students. Those dates have not yet been solidified, but will happen towards the end of October. We plan to offer 2 evening events, one on Zoom, and one in-person to walk you through the completion of these applications.

How to get started:

1. Go HERE, to complete your FAFSA if you have a Social Security Number.

2. Go HERE, to complete your California Dream Act if you do not have a Social Security Number. If you have an SSN for work purposes only through DACA, you will complete a California Dream Act application, not a FAFSA.

3. You will need an FSA ID for both you (the student) and ONE of your parent. (If your parent already has an FSA ID from submission for an older sibling, they will use the SAME one for you) Go HERE, to create your FSA ID. Read HERE, more info about the FSA ID, which serves as your electronic signature on the application.

4. Go HERE, to get some step by step tips on completing your FAFSA. This is a great resource with instructions on each section of the form.

Tips for Completing your FAFSA:

1. Make sure you begin working on the CORRECT FAFSA. You will complete the 2022-23 FAFSA, NOT the 2021-22 FAFSA. Both are options. If you begin working on the wrong version, you will lose all your work and be required to start over.

2. Make sure you gather all of your vital materials before starting. See a list HERE. We recommend you complete your FAFSA with your parent next to you.

3. Whether you are considered a "dependent" or "independent" student is very important. PLEASE NOTE: 95% of seniors are considered "dependent" and you will report your parents income on your FAFSA. Read more about this and find out your status HERE.

4. Take advantage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool that connects with the IRS to automatically load all the parent financial information. IMPORTANT TIP!!!! You must enter your information EXACTLY as it appears on your taxes in order for the tool to "match" your IRS file. And when I say EXACTLY, I mean EXACTLY. Follow every space, period, lower case, upper case, EXACTLY as it appears on the copy of the taxes. This is especially true for the street address.

5. WRITE DOWN every password, every save key, every login, EVERYTHING. You can't imagine how many times students get locked out of the application because they forgot (and didn't write down) the password they JUST created.

6. REMINDER: Do NOT use your monroviaschools.net email address to create your FAFSA account. This email address is immediately de-activated upon graduation and you need email access AFTER June to follow up with all financial aid information.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. If my parents make too much money, should I still complete a FAFSA? YES! All seniors should complete a FAFSA regardless of family income.

2. If my parent does not have a social security number, can they still complete my FAFSA? YES! They absolutely will still complete your FAFSA. You will report your parents' income like usual, but your parent will not apply for an FSA ID. Instead of signing the form electronically with the FSA ID, they will print, sign, and mail their signature.

3. What if I could not connect with the IRS using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool? No problem, you will just self report all the financial information from the copy of your parents' taxes. The FAFSA provides line-by-line reference to where to find the correct numbers from your tax form. Just keep in mind, you will likely be required at a later time to verify your FAFSA information either by connecting with the IRS Tool or providing a copy of your tax transcripts.

4. What if my parents' financial situation has changed since tax year 2020? Great question! You will still complete your FAFSA and all the correct 2019 numbers as usual. Do not report anything different than exactly what the FAFSA requests from 2019. Submit the FAFSA. THEN, you will contact each of the schools' financial aid departments where you are applying to inform them of the change in financial situation. You will work directly with those financial aid departments moving forward

5. What if I need help on the FAFSA? There are multiple help tools on the application itself to locate answers to frequently asked questions. You are also welcome to contact your counselor. Oftentimes, if you have a very specific question about a very special circumstance, the best resource is the FAFSA customer service department. Call 1-800-4FEDAID. They are extremely helpful.

6. What if I am applying to more than 10 schools and there are only 10 spots for colleges to send my FAFSA? No worries, just enter the 1st 10 on your initial submission and include your top choices there. Once you submit and received confirmation, you will log back in a few days later and complete a "correction" FAFSA. The only change you will make on this correction FAFSA is erase the 1st 10 schools, then add your additional schools, and re-submit.