A big part of getting a greater education is finding the funds to do it. Luckily, seeking financial aid can be as easy as filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form – otherwise known as the FAFSA.

Filling out this one document can open you up to receiving the federal aid necessary to make computer training feasible. Some people may assume that completing the form will be a tedious and time-consuming process, but you can actually fill it out with ease if you plan ahead and follow a few guidelines.

It’s important to be prepared before you try to fill out the form. Here are all the materials you’ll need for the FAFSA, according to the organization’s website:

  • Your social security number.
  • Your alien registration number – if you are not a citizen of the U.S.
  • Your most recent federal income tax return documents, W-2s and other money-earning records. Note: the IRS Data Retrieval Tool may allow you to electronically transfer federal tax return information directly to the FAFSA.
  • Any applicable bank statements and records of investments.
  • Any applicable records of untaxed income.
  • A federal student aid PIN to complete an electronic signature.

Once you have all of your files gathered, completing the FAFSA is a walk in the park. However, there are other tips that can help you through the process.

You can begin filling out your FAFSA as early as Jan. 1. While you may not have all the necessary tax information to complete the form in its entirety that early, you can actually use preliminary information to complete the form earlier, according to Fox Business.

“Families can complete the FAFSA with estimated tax information and then make corrections once the tax return is filed, if necessary, Karen McCarthy, spokesperson for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, told Fox Business. “Meeting state and institutional deadlines is more important than completing the FAFSA with final tax information and families should complete the FAFSA with estimated information if necessary by the applicable deadline.”

Because federal financial aid is first come first served, it can actually benefit you to complete the fields with your best predictions regarding tax information.

Parents or guardians who support applicants will also have to supply personal information for you to complete your FAFSA. If you’re dependent on someone, make sure they gather their documents before you start the application process. They’ll also need to apply for a federal PIN to electronically sign documents at the end of the process.

If you’re thinking of filing as an independent, know that including or excluding your guardians’ financial information can have various effects on student financial aid and your estimated family contribution, which will determine how much financial aid you receive and whether you are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For many people, completing the FAFSA is the first step to a better education and a higher income, and for a few individuals interested in tech and the innovative world of computers, the second step is reaching out to the professionals at MyComputerCareer.

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