With a new year comes a new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The on-line FAFSA (fafsa.gov) is used to apply for federal student aid, the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) Award and RIT need-based grants.
If are considering enrolling at RIT as a first year student (not applying Early Decision), you should complete the FAFSA by March 15th. This will enable us to provide you with a financial aid award in advance of your admission deposit deadline (May 1st in most cases). Financial Aid Awards for first year students are mailed beginning mid-March. If you are applying Early Decision, the information in an earlier post might be helpful http://ambassador.rit.edu/bca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1288&Itemid=8.
Unfortunately, the FAFSA is portrayed as an impossible form to complete. Words such as errors, deadline, scary, costly mistakes, dread, tackle are commonly found in articles targeting families who are beginning the financial aid application process.
The Department of Education is focused on simplifying the Financial Aid Application. A more streamlined FAFSA has been created as a result. I highly recommend that students complete the on-line FAFSA because of the skip-logic built in. Also, you can’t enter values that are not logical. After January 30, 2011 families can retrieve their tax return information from the IRS while completing the FAFSA.
My advice is to wait and complete the FAFSA after you file your tax returns. However, if you can’t file your tax returns by March 1st then complete the FAFSA using estimated income. You can go back and update the FAFSA with actual tax information later. The goal is for us be able to provide you with the financial aid information you need to make an admission decision by May 1st.
It is very easy to correct information on a FAFSA after it has been submitted. Although you may dread the application, it is not scary. And our staff is comitted to helping families throughout the financial aid process at no cost to families. Don’t hesitate to contact us.