BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - ?
Filling out the FAFSA: It sounds intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Parents don't need to bite their nails at the thought of filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid Form, or FAFSA.
The FAFSA website is easy to navigate and there is even a button to help you transport your tax information from the IRS right to your FAFSA form.
“From years of working with students filling out FAFSAs, this is so much better. There is a wealth of information here if you spend a little time,” said Karin Bell with the non-profit group
One of the most important things to do right now is log onto
and get a pin number. It's your passport to getting through the process of getting financial aid and grants. Colleges will also need that pin number.
Make sure you follow the title of the name, as in “Free!”
“If you'll notice, [the FAFSA website] is a dot-gov website. There are copycat websites out there that may have a ‘dot-com' at the end and they will want to charge people to complete the form, so don't go there,” Bell said.
“My rule of thumb with students and parents is you do not pay money to apply for financial aid, you do not pay money for scholarship information. There is no magic pot of money out there that somebody knows about that you can't know about. It's all available on the web. I don't want families who really need the money, and kids who are working really hard to get money for college, I don't want them to pay for information that is totally free,” she added.
You can find answers to several questions about the FAFSA by going to
and clicking on the "Help" button.