Tips for Filing FAFSA


Emily McFarland, Staff Writer

Senior have all heard the dreaded acronym from our parents, friends, or teachers. FAFSA. No one enjoys doing it, but we can all agree that it is absolutely necessary for those who plan on continuing our education in college.

FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and has to be filed by prospective college students who seek to receive any form of student financial aid, (aka every high school senior). The Pony Express has collected some helpful tips for those of you who have yet to fill out the dreaded FAFSA form.


  • File as soon as possible.


    The state of Tennessee awards aid money based on a first-come, first-serve basis until they run out of money to give out. File your FAFSA as soon as possible. Even if you have to estimate on the form, you can always go back and update the application with the more accurate information.

  1. Make sure your parents are readily available when you begin filing.

    The FAFSA asks a lot of questions that the average high school senior may not know the answers to. It even requires parents to create their own accounts with FAFSA, requiring their social security numbers and other strenuous details. Many of the questions can be answered with access to their W-2 form, but it never hurts to have someone looking over your shoulder, making sure everything is done correctly.

  1. Fill out the form entirely.

    Yes, it takes a good amount of time, but when attempting to gain funds for college tuition, it is entirely worth it in the long run. Make sure to answer each question carefully and be sure to double-check all answers. With so many questions, it is easy to make a mistake while filing.

  1. Don’t lie on your FAFSA.

    According to TIME magazine, “Lying about your income or assets on the FAFSA is a form of fraud punishable by a fine up to $20,000, forfeiture of financial aid awards, and potential prison time”. $20,000 could easily pay for a year or two’s tuition at many colleges in America. Prison time and fines aren’t worth the efforts of lying. Be honest and hope for the best.

  1. Don’t stress.

    Everything will be okay. It’s just a form. Do not let a simple online form cause stress. Enjoy your second semester of senior year!