EducationQuest College Planning Bulletin February 2016

 

 EducationQuest Foundation 

College Planning Bulletin 

A monthly college planning guide for Nebraska high school students 

February 2016 

It's FAFSA Time! 

If you’re a college-bound senior, you must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to apply for state, federal and college-based financial aid. 

Submit the form before your college’s FAFSA priority date (typically between March 1 and April 1) as some financial aid is awarded first-come, first-served. Check with your college(s) to learn their priority date. 

Follow these steps to complete the FAFSA: 

Create a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) for you and one for a parent at fsaid.ed.gov. You’ll use the ID to access the FAFSA and other Federal Student Aid websites, and as your electronic signature for the FAFSA. 

Complete your taxes early as the FAFSA requires current tax information. Within three weeks after you and your parents file your tax forms, your IRS data should be available to retrieve and transfer into your FAFSA through the IRS Data Retrieval process (available as of February 7, 2016). 

Gather these student and parent items

 2015 federal income tax forms and, if applicable, Schedule K-1 (Form 1065) 

 2015 W-2 forms 

 Student’s driver’s license number 

 Social Security numbers 

 Birth dates 

 Date parents were married, separated, divorced or widowed 

 Current cash, savings and checking account balances 

 Current investment values (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs, etc.) excluding your home and retirement accounts 

 Value of business (if more than 100 employees) 

 Value of investment farm (Do not include the value of a family farm that you or your parents live on and operate.) 

 2015 child support (paid and/or received) 

 2015 Workers’ Compensation 

 Other untaxed income in 2015 such as housing/food/ living allowances for military and clergy 

 Alien Registration Number for eligible non-citizens 

 

Be prepared to indicate on the FAFSA if, during 2015, you or anyone in your household received Supplemental Security Income, SNAP, TANF, Free or Reduced Price Lunch, and/or WIC. 

Complete the FAFSA at FAFSA.gov. The colleges you list on the application should receive the results within 48 hours. 

If you’re filing the FAFSA for the first time and want free help, call the EducationQuest location nearest you to set up an appointment: Omaha – 888.357.6300, Lincoln – 800.303.3745, Kearney – 800.666.3721, or Scottsbluff – 800.303.3745, ext. 6654. 

Check out these free FAFSA tools 

Visit “FAFSA Tools” at EducationQuest.org where you’ll find: 

College Funding Estimator – estimates your FAFSA results 

FSA ID Video – shows you how to create an FSA ID 

FAFSA Demo – walks you through the online FAFSA 

FAFSA Checklist – provides a list of items you need to gather before you complete the FAFSA 

FAFSA Tutorial – explains each FAFSA question 

 

Apply for EducationQuest’s Scavenger Hunt Scholarship! 

Apply by March 31 for EducationQuest’s Scavenger Hunt Scholarship. You could earn $500 toward your college education! Here’s how it works: 

1. If you haven’t already, complete a profile in ScholarshipQuest at EducationQuest.org. ScholarshipQuest is a scholarship search tool with over 2,000 Nebraska-based awards. 

2. If you are a Nebraska resident in grades 9-12, you will see the EducationQuest Scavenger Hunt Scholarship as one of the scholarships that will appear on your results page. 

3. “Scavenge” around the EducationQuest website to find answers to questions in a survey. 

4. EducationQuest will draw a winner from those who answer all questions correctly. The winner will receive $500 to invest in a NEST 529 College Savings Plan. 

 

February “To Do” List 

Seniors: 

___ Complete student and parent 2015 tax returns. 

___ Create an FSA ID for you and one for a parent at fsaid.ed.gov

___ Complete the FAFSA at fafsa.gov

___ Continue to apply for scholarships. 

Juniors: 

___ Register by February 5 for the March 5 SAT. 

___ Register by March 4 for the April 9 ACT. 

For free help with college planning, contact the EducationQuest location nearest you: 

Kearney Lincoln Omaha 

308-234-6310 402-475-5222 402-391-4033 

800-666-3721 800-303-3745 888-357-6300 

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