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FAFSA 101

Applying for Financial Aid

The first step in applying for financial aid at GHC is to complete the FAFSA. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is FREE! Never pay to complete your FAFSA! All you need to do is go to fafsa.gov and get started. The FAFSA is the first step to receiving federal student aid such as the Pell Grant, FSEOG (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant), FWS (Federal Work Study) funding, and Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized/Unsubsidized/Parent PLUS).

Don’t forget to include the GHC School Code (009507) on your FAFSA!

Step One-Set up your FSA ID

The Department of Education has eliminated the FSA PIN and replaced it with the FSA ID.

The FSA ID confirms your identity when you access your financial aid information and when you electronically sign federal student aid documents. You can create an FSA ID and password when logging into your FAFSA. For more information on the FSA ID, click HERE.

Step Two-Get Documents & Information

Gather the documents and information needed to fill out your FAFSA. You will need your federal tax returns and W2s, your parents’ federal tax returns and W2s (if you are a dependent student), student and parent’s/stepparent’s/spouse’s social security number, address, household information, FSA ID (student and parent) to electronically sign the FAFSA, and the list of schools you want your FAFSA to be sent to.

Tip: Click HERE for Federal Student Aid guidance on parental information and what is required on the FAFSA.

Tip: It is recommended for students and parents who filed taxes to try and use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if possible. Once you have filed your taxes electronically, you must wait 2-3 weeks for the information to be available via this option. If you mail in your tax returns, you must wait at least 6 weeks before your tax information will be available via this option. Using this option will GREATLY reduce your chances of being chosen for the Verification process.

Tip: Make sure that you enter the correct social security numbers for everyone who is included on your FAFSA. Incorrect social security numbers can result in the rejection of your FAFSA and could cause considerable time delays.

Step Three-Fill out the FAFSA

Go to fafsa.gov to submit your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Note that there are “Help” boxes on the FAFSA to assist you with the questions and to help you navigate it properly. Reading the instructions carefully and double checking your information will help to ensure that you are providing the correct information. At the end of the application, you will be asked to “sign” your application. You will do this electronically with your FSA ID and password. If you are a dependent student, your parent will be required to sign your FAFSA with their FSA ID and password (your FAFSA cannot be processed if the parent signature is missing). To know whether you are a dependent or independent student, click HERE. After signing the FAFSA, click the submit button and wait for confirmation that your application has been submitted.

Tip: You must choose the FAFSA application for the correct aid year. An aid year encompasses fall/spring/summer. For example, the 2021 aid year encompasses fall 20/spring 21/summer 21.

Step Four-Monitor the Status of Your FAFSA

The FAFSA can take from 5-7 business days to be sent to the schools listed on your FASFA. Make sure you read the Student Aid Report (SAR) that is sent to you at the email you provided on the FAFSA. You can also check your SAR report by logging back into fafsa.gov. If your EFC (expected family contribution amount) number on the SAR report has an asterisk (*) next to it, you have been selected for the Verification process. If your FAFSA is selected for the Verification process, you will be required to submit additional documentation and information to the Office of Financial Aid at the college you will be attending.

To monitor the status of your FAFSA at Georgia Highlands College:

  • Monitor your SCORE account on the Check Financial Aid Status link to see if the FAFSA has been received. Don’t forget to select the appropriate aid year (an aid year encompasses fall/spring/summer).
  • Monitor your Schedule/Bill for any applicable financial aid offers.
  • You can also email finaid@highlands.edu for updates.

Click here for detailed instructions on filling out the FAFSA.

Click here for common mistakes students make on the FAFSA.

For additional guidance on the FAFSA and Verification, reference this information on the Federal Student Aid website.

Non-U.S.Citizens may be eligible for aid. Please click HERE to see if you are eligible to receive aid.