Helpful Hints

Time-tested advice for applying for financial aid.

10 helpful hints:

1. Be informed! 
Attend a local or high school financial aid session and visit Financial Aid Offices during campus visits.

2. Learn — and possibly laugh. 
Yes, you might actually find The Five Minute FAFSA entertaining. It's a helpful introduction to completing the FAFSA form - which is used to apply for grants, loans, and work-study from the federal government, as well as state and school-based financial aid.

3. Plan ahead. 
Apply on time. Seriously important. You can estimate amounts on both the CSS Profile and FAFSA to meet deadlines. Just use the best figures available to you.

4. Make sure you have all of your Income Documentation. 
It is important to make sure your file is complete on time - if your tax return has any schedules or additional documents associated with them, make sure they're included in your submission to IDOC.

5. Stay in touch. 
Promptly respond to any inquiries from our office. A delay in response can cause a delay in processing your file.

6. Complete forms carefully.

  • Read all instructions.
  • Use your legal name (not nickname) on all forms.
  • Don't skip questions. If the answer is 0, put 0. Don't leave it blank.
  • Pay attention when you’re inputting data. Transposing numbers can be a big problem, especially if you mess up your Social Security Number (SSN).
  • Print your name and Student ID (B20xxxxxx) or SSN on every form you submit.

7. Establish your FSA ID early.
Sign up and request your FSA ID early, it takes time to get it and you can’t submit a FAFSA without it

8. Keep copies. 
Keep copies of what you submit, just in case.

9. Reapply! 
Reapply every year (some exclusions may apply).

10. Contact us. 
Remember, we're here to help!