FAFSA Myths Busted

There are many reasons to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as the FAFSA. There aren’t any reasons to avoid it, including the delays by the Department of Education that means information will not be available to colleges before mid-March. Don’t leave money on the table. Elmira College is taking steps to ensure students will have access to their aid offers as quickly as possible. Check out the below FAFSA myth-busting facts and get started right away on completing this “get me to college for less” tool.

Have questions or want help? Contact the Elmira College Financial Aid Office 607-735-1728. They’ll walk you through the process.

The FAFSA can be completed online at studentaid.gov. EC’s federal school code is 002718.

Myth Vs. Reality
  • Myth #1: I don’t need to fill out the FAFSA.
  • Reality: The FAFSA not only enables you to apply for federal grants like the Pell Grant and low-interest loans, it’s also the form that states and individual colleges - like EC - use to determine your need-based aid. Some states have deadlines so check here for details.

  • Myth #2: I need both parents’ information to complete the FAFSA.
  • Reality: It depends. There are many situations when you only need one parent’s information to complete the FAFSA – and you might not even need that. The FAFSA considers many different family situations, and so will EC’s Financial Aid Office. The FAFSA form will have a “parent wizard” that will guide you through which parent(s) need to provide information.

  • Myth #3: I need to pay a fee to file the FAFSA.
  • Reality: Filing the FAFSA is free – it’s right there in the name! Avoid any website or mobile app that requires a payment – that means it isn’t the official FAFSA site.

  • Myth #4: It takes a long time to fill out the FAFSA.
  • Reality: The FAFSA form has been greatly simplified (reduced questions, simpler language) and many of the questions are answered by importing federal tax information (FTI) directly from the IRS.

  • Myth #5: I need a computer to complete the FAFSA
  • Reality: You don’t! You can access StudentAid.gov on a mobile device or request a printout of the FAFSA PDF – in English or Spanish – by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

  • Myth #6: I need to be a U.S. citizen to be eligible for financial aid.
  • Reality: Students who fall into certain non-citizen statuses are eligible for federal financial aid. See a list here. Your parents’ citizenship does NOT impact your eligibility.

  • Myth #7: The FAFSA asks for a lot of information and I won’t be able to find it.
  • Reality: The FAFSA collects information you should have easy access to like your Social Security number, bank statements, and driver’s license. You don’t need your tax forms on hand: there’s a tool that can pull them in automatically for you!

  • Myth #8: My family must have filed their tax returns before I can file the FAFSA.
  • Reality: The FAFSA uses what’s called “prior-prior year taxes, and starting this year, federal tax information (FTI) will automatically populate in your FAFSA once you and your parent(s) have provided consent.

Additional FAFSA Tips

The FAFSA Checklist

FAFSA Resources You Can Trust

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