All About the FAFSA

October 3, 2016


So, I am just going to go on and say it…. that-which-must-not-be-named… FAFSA. This word evokes feeling of uncertainty, fear, and confusion. Many ask what is it and why does it have so much control over my future? All that is known for sure is that it must be completed because colleges want it and for those of us in the wonderful state of TN, it is required for TN Promise.

Don’t worry though, I am arming you with the owl patronus. It stands for wisdom, learning, and gives us the vision to see and navigate any path no matter how dark it is.

The truth is that, while many people stress and worry over the FAFSA, it is actually much easier to complete than many people realize. Honestly, it was not always this way. When I was in high school they only had the paper FAFSA and it was truly a pain to fill out. Plus, after you completed it you had to send it via snail mail (I know the horror right?). Then wait to see if you made any mistakes and had to have it resent for correction and mailed out again. It was a process that was confusing and timely to complete.

Now, it is a much smoother process- in fact it is almost simple. It is available online at and has many features to unlock the dark mysteries involved in completing it. Some of the best are the help boxes located throughout letting you know what they are looking for, an online person to contact and a number to call (all available on the website). There is even the ability to connect with the IRS website to instantly plug in your tax information! Parent and students even sign via a digital signature (FSA ID). It can all be completed and submitted quickly. Then, in 3-5 business days you receive your SAR (student aid report) showing you some estimated federal aid you