2020-2021 FAFSA Information - AMP | Achieving Maximum Potential

2020-2021 FAFSA Information

Make sure you file the FAFSA soon at FAFSA.gov.

Iowa College Aid Insider: Applying for College & Financial Aid

October 1, 2019

2020-21 FAFSA opens today!

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is your gateway to grants, scholarships, work-study, federal loans, and almost all other financial aid for college. The window to file a FAFSA for the 2020-21 academic year opens today. Some financial aid is first come, first served, so don't wait to file! Find more information and tips at IowaCollegeAid.gov/FAFSA.

Checklist for HS seniors

You'll graduate from high school in the blink of an eye. Make sure you're ready for college by the end of the year with this checklist:

  • Review coursework with your school counselor.
  • Complete and submit the FAFSA.
  • File the Iowa Financial Aid Application.
  • Register for ACT/SAT retake if needed.
  • Prepare a final list of colleges and submit applications.
  • Ask your high school to send official transcripts to colleges.
  • Compare acceptance letters and financial aid awards.
  • Choose your college and mail your commitment deposit check deadline is often May 1.
  • Take AP exams.

How to get a great letter of recommendation

Asking for a letter of recommendation for college and scholarship applications can be nerve-racking, but here are tips for a smooth, respectful request:

  1. Pick the right person. Approach someone who knows you well. A teacher or extracurricular advisor is a good option, but don't limit yourself to school. A religious leader or community project organizer can also provide strong recommendations.
  2. Ask early. Don't wait until the end of the semester, when teachers and other school professionals are flooded with requests. Request early, and give them plenty of time.
  3. Ask in person. If possible, pop the question in person and explain what the letter is for and when you need it. Make sure the person knows why you chose them.

Give them everything they need. Make your letter writer's life easier and send them all the details they need. Is there a word or page limit? Do you need more than one letter? Do they need to submit the letter online? Send them the school or scholarship description and highlight characteristics and achievements they could mention.

Free 24/7 tool answers questions about FAFSA and college

Have you ever had questions about college applications or the FAFSA late at night? Better Make Room created a chatbot, named Bo, that will answer all your questions 24/7. The free tool is available on the Better Make Room Facebook page and can answer unlimited questions about the FAFSA, the college application process, college life and many more topics!

To use the chatbot, click "send message" on the Better Make Room Facebook page and ask your questions about college. Bo will take it from there.

College Savings Iowa is giving away savings accounts

College Savings Iowa is celebrating its 20th anniversary by giving away nine 529 College Savings Iowa accounts. This giveaway is open until October 31 at Iowa529Contest.com

College Savings Iowa will give away four $5,000 accounts and five $529 accounts and will notify the winners in early November. The giveaway is open to all residents who have a child or grandchild under 18 years old, even if they already have a College Savings Iowa account.

A 529 college savings plan is a tax-advantaged investment account sponsored by the State of Iowa that you can use to save for qualified education expenses. Learn more at CollegeSavingsIowa.com.

Pros and cons of income-share agreements

A few universities are beginning to offer “income-share agreements” as a way to pay for college. Students who sign these contracts pay nothing up-front but agree to pay a percentage of their earnings for a fixed period after graduation. Among the schools that have announced such plans are Purdue University, Colorado Mountain College and Clarkson University.

Students who enter these agreements might be able to pay less money overall. The programs could also lower the risk of default. Because these programs are relatively new and largely unregulated, however, questions remain about whether they are a good deal for students. Among the concerns:

  • Non-accredited academic institutions don’t have to adhere to external standards, so some are nervous that these businesses might take advantage of students.
  • There’s little consensus about how much is fair to reap from program graduates and for how long.
  • There isn’t much data about how people do once they through the programs, which makes it difficult for prospective students to evaluate them.

FAFSA app is live!

On October 1, it will be time to submit your FAFSA. Remember, you need to do this every single year that you’re attending college. This year, students and families have a new way to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid: a mobile app. 

The app, called myStudentAid, can be downloaded to Apple and Android phones. Students and families can access the “beta version” now to check their student loan history. On October 1, the 2020-2021 FAFSA will be available on the app. The app is designed so that students and families can start and finish the app on any electronic device. For example, a student could start filling out the FAFSA on the mobile app, and a parent could finish the FAFSA on a desktop. The app will even cheer the user on with messages like “You’ve completed a milestone!” and “You’re a rock star!”

Visit the new FAFSA website here and download the free mobile app in the Apple Store and Google Play Store. Follow Iowa College Aid on FacebookTwitter or Instagram to get reminders and tips for filing the FAFSA.  

Iowa AG issues advice about private student loans

The Iowa Attorney General’s office is encouraging consumers to do their homework before taking out private student loans. Students are advised to know their credit score and how it will affect the loan terms they’re offered. Students should also understand the pros and cons of having a parent or other relative co-sign a loan. The most important thing about student loans is to ensure you understand all the terms and agreements before signing.

Three things the AG’s office says to consider:

  • Transparency: What do you know and when will you know it?
  • Cost: How much does it cost to take out a loan? What’s the interest rate? How does interest accrue and capitalize?
  • Repayment: When does repayment start? What benefits are offered? What help does the borrower receive?

Read more of the Iowa Attorney General’s loan advice here and learn more about other types of financial aid here.

5 tips for balancing college and a part-time job

Nearly 4 in 5 college students work part-time, according to a study from Georgetown University. Managing a full-time course load and a part-time job is a balancing act, but you can benefit from these tips:

  1. Set up a smart schedule. Schedule time for classes, work, homework, extracurricular activities and relaxation/fun time. Scheduling classes and work for every minute of the day will ultimately lead to burnout and won’t give you time to do your homework, participate in important activities and relax.
  2. Talk to your boss. Your supervisor should understand that you’re a full-time student and offer you some flexibility. Give your boss a copy of your class schedule as soon as you have it. Set clear boundaries (example: not working more than 15 hours per week). Let your boss know in advance of dates you’ll need off for finals, big projects/tests, student trips, etc.  
  3. Find a job that relates to your career. You can get paid for resume-worthy work experience. Are you a teaching major? Work at a daycare or tutoring program. Interested in real estate? Try to land a receptionist job at a real estate company. 
  4. Work ahead. Don’t procrastinate and let your to-do list get out of control. A great thing about college is that you usually have your entire semester’s assignments listed on your syllabus, so work ahead on readings, papers and other assignments. Stay focused now so you can be flexible when you need to be.
  5. Make time for yourself. Do you work late on Tuesdays and Thursdays? Go to bed early on Monday and Wednesday. Schedule time to go to the doctor, get a haircut, eat a healthy dinner, lounge on the couch, go to the grocery store, exercise, etc. You can’t burn the candle at both ends without losing productivity.

The Iowa Financial Aid Application provides Iowans with an opportunity to apply for scholarships, grants and loan repayment programs offered through the State of Iowa, private funds, and in some cases, the Federal Government.

 If you aged out of foster care on your 18th birthday, make sure you indicate, ‘yes’ to  (At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?)  Once you have logged in and if you filled out a FAFSA last year, then you can choose to complete a RENEWAL FAFSA, which means some of your information will be pre-populated.-make updates as needed (address, income, school name, etc.)  If you didn’t complete a FAFSA this year, then you will need to start a new one and select the link to ‘Fill out a FAFSA’.

Remember to use the Optional Feature upon the completion of the FAFSA Confirmation Page to apply for Iowa state-based financial aid.  The link will transfer you to the Iowa Financial Aid Application, which will allow you to apply for ETV/Foster Grant funding. 

Items that will be helpful when filling out your FAFSA:

  • Social Security Number
  • Driver's license (if any)
  • W-2 Forms for the previous year/ records of money earned
  • Your (and your spouse's, if you are married) most recent Federal Income Tax Return:
    • IRS Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040Telefile,
  • Untaxed income records for the previous year:
  • Social Security, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, welfare, or veterans benefits.
  • Current bank statements
  • Documentation that you are a U.S. permanent resident or other eligible noncitizen.


Additional FAFSA help is available at your college Financial Aid office, from your AMP Facilitator, and/or your Aftercare Advocate.


For Additional Information Please feel free to call/email Tristan Lynn, with Iowa College Aid Commission at

515-725-3409  or tristan.lynn@iowa.gov


Iowa College Student Aid Commission

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