January 10, 2024

Four tips to get you the most out of FAFSA

The FAFSA can be an intimidating form, but there’s no need to fear. Keep these tips in mind to make your financial aid journey quicker, easier, and more rewarding.

1. For more money, do it by April 1st—no joke 

According to personal finance author Mark Kantrowitz via the site Kiplinger, “Students who apply for financial aid during the first three months tend to get twice as much grant money as students who file the FAFSA later.” [1]

This is because some of the money the government sets aside for student aid is first come, first served. Once it runs out, the people who apply later on are out of luck. 

To give yourself the best possible chance of getting your share, submit your FAFSA sooner rather than later. 

2. You can automatically transfer your tax information to FAFSA  

Once you start your FAFSA form and give your permission to share information with the IRS, you can find a button labeled “Proceed to the IRS” that leads to their Data Retrieval Tool. To learn how to go through the process, check out the official guide

3. When you have to enter a number, don't use commas or decimal points

According to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) guide on common FAFSA mistakes to avoid, you should always round amounts of money to the nearest dollar. Formatting mistakes can draw out the FAFSA process and cut down on the amount of aid you get, so it's worthwhile to spend some time double checking your formatting. 

4. Think your family makes too much money to get any aid? You should still apply!

To decide on the amount of aid you’re eligible for, FAFSA takes more than just your finances into account—and most people are offered some type of aid. 

Even if you don’t qualify for aid through FAFSA, there are plenty of grants and scholarships that ask you to submit your FAFSA before they give you any funding.

Even in the worst case scenario, finishing FAFSA’s the single most important first step to accessing financial aid. Unless you’re committing tax evasion or something. Then the worst case scenario is that you’ll have to pay your taxes. But you should ideally be doing that in the first place. 

And in the best case scenario, you could get the pleasant surprise of an unexpected grant. 

In Conclusion:

While the clock might be ticking on your window to complete FAFSA, there’s no need to worry. The form should only take you around a half hour to finish. If you want real-time, personalized guidance throughout your FAFSA process, you can always count on the Financial Advisors at Mos. 


  1. https://www.kiplinger.com/personal-finance/the-fafsa-file-early-to-get-aid-for-college#:~:text=The%20sooner%20you%20file%2C%20the,Appeal%20for%20More%20Financial%20Aid.

  2. https://www.collegeave.com/articles/early-fafsa-application-benefits/

  3. https://studentaid.gov/articles/category/fafsa-tips/

  4. https://studentaid.gov/articles/fafsa-myths/

  5. https://studentaid.gov/articles/fafsa-changes-coming/

  6. https://www.collegeave.com/articles/early-fafsa-application-benefits/

  7. https://studentaid.gov/resources/irs-drt-text

  8. https://www.nasfaa.org/fafsa_tips

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