You have been accepted into college and you even saved some money in your 529 college savings plan to pay for it, but it's not enough. It's now time to apply for financial aid, and you have questions.
The FAFSA form from the Department of Education's Federal Student Aid office is the place to start your quest for financial aid; FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid and uses your income/assets -- including funds from your 529 plan -- to determine how much money you can get in grants and loans.
Gather together financial information, including the latest report for your 529 college savings plan.
Go to the website for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at fafsa.ed.gov. Click on the "Start Here" button.
Fill out required information as instructed.
Include the amount of your 529 college savings plan when you add up the value of your assets for question No. 41, the net worth of investments.
If you need more guidance on how to fill out the FAFSA, look at the "Tools and Resources" on the Student Aid on the Web site. If you are still confused about the financial aid process, contact the financial aid department at your school. If you do not want to fill out your FAFSA online, you can print a form from FAFSA on the Web, under "FAFSA Filing Options," or you can get a copy at the financial aid department at your school. If you cannot find a copy of your 529 plan report, contact the financial adviser that manages your 529 college savings plan.
It is very important that you fill out your FAFSA and other student financial aid applications as accurately as you can. You can lose your aid if you purposely hide assets or lie on your application.
Melanie Ann Boczarski has been writing professionally since 2009. She was first published in "The Spectrum" in 2006. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Buffalo in 2007.