Gruber FAFSA: Free Application For Federal Student Aid

At the Gruber Foundation, we know how important your child’s future is to you and we want to give you our assurance that we will do everything to have your child receive the maximum amount of financial aid and scholarship funds available for their college education.

We provide free federal financial aid and scholarship services to every student and parent.

“No family will be left behind due to their financial status.”

Dr. Gary Gruber has helped over 7 million people prepare for college. The dedicated staff at the Foundation has helped thousands of students receive in excess of over $1 billion in federal financial aid and scholarship funds.

• What Is The Gruber Foundation Mission?

The Gruber Foundation’s mission is to help all students and their parents receive the most financial aid and scholarship funds possible to assist with their college expense. 

Our philosophy is to leave no parent or student behind in their pursuit of receiving a college degree. The Gruber Foundation is able to do this by providing free financial aid and scholarship assistance to every parent and student seeking help.

• What Is The Gruber Foundation?

The Gruber Foundation is a philanthropic organization that helps students develop their critical thinking skills and helps maximize their potential as they pursue their academic goals.

A major emphasis of our organization is to provide students with a creative, exciting, and forward-thinking approach to learning. After many years of research and development by Dr. Gary Gruber, the Foundation has produced the world’s most significant and effective strategies and skills to develop students’ minds. 

• Who Is Dr. Gary Gruber?

In his early twenties, Dr. Gruber was awarded a fellowship from the National Aeronautics Space Agency (NASA) while continuing his research in Quantum Physics and earning his Ph.D. in Theoretical Astrophysics. Dr. Gruber has dedicated more than 40 years to helping students learn critical thinking skills to prepare them for their future endeavors.

Dr. Gruber was also awarded a 3 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his research on interdisciplinary studies, which resulted in him developing a passion for sharing his knowledge to help millions of aspiring students succeed academically.

As a result of Dr. Gruber sharing his critical thinking methods and interdisciplinary research, students have been able to receive improved grades and higher SAT/ACT exam scores. Not only do students benefit with their academic success, they also benefit by receiving significantly more financial aid and scholarship funds for their college education.

• How Can The Gruber Foundation Help You?

The Gruber Foundation will provide assistance for every parent and student to complete the FAFSA application as well as a free scholarship search to help them secure the funds they need for their college education.

Dr. Gruber continues to dedicate his time and energy to influence as many student lives as possible and to have a positive impact on the outcome of their academic success.

At the Gruber Foundation, our mission is to make every parent and student aware that there is enough financial aid and scholarship funds for them to attend the college of their choice.

Outlined below are three steps we like to use to get started.

+ Step ONE:

• Introduction to one another will be the first course of action
We like to exchange names by introducing our financial aid counselor to the parent and student.

• We then initiate a 3-5 minute explanation of what we intend to accomplish
We would like to start by using the FAFSA-On-The-Web Site and explain how the electronic signature is used. Please note, even if your child has not made a final decision on what college they would like to attend, or even if they have not received all of their acceptance letters, we can still have the results sent to any schools of interest to them.

• We will explain how FAFSA results will yield an EFC and what the EFC means
Once the student’s application has been submitted and processed by the Department’s Central Processing System (CPS), the result will show an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) that Colleges use to determine your child’s eligibility for Federal Student Aid. The EFC will be provided to you, via email in the form of a Student Aid Report (SAR). Any selected colleges will also receive the results on an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR). The EFC is designed to be an estimate of what the family can contribute toward the student’s Cost of Attendance (COA).

• We will then confirm that the student and the parent have a Federal Student Aid ID and password
Before this process can be continued further, please have your Federal Student Aid ID and Password credentials available when speaking with our financial aid counselor since these credentials will be necessary to log on to the site. Once on the site, both the student and parent will sign the online form electronically using your unique ID and Password.

• We will also review any paperwork that you have available
The FAFSA will ask questions about your income, assets, and household size. Please have an available copy of your latest Federal Tax Return and information about any assets you have (not including the home you live in).

• At this time we would recommend sharing visual access to the website screen with the parent and student if so desired
Sharing visual access to the website screen between the parent, student, and financial aid counselor is highly recommended as it can be very helpful in understanding the process of completing a new FAFSA application. With this step, students and parents have full control of the screen, though our Gruber Foundation financial aid counselor will also able to see the screen in order to help each step of the way and to provide guidance with any questions you may have during the application process.

Step TWO:

• Here is where we will assist the parent with logging-in to the FAFSA-on-the-Web site
This next step will be a step-by-step completion of the FAFSA application. On the FAFSA-on-the-web site, after entering the student’s FSA ID and password, you will then be instructed to click NEXT. The US Department of Education takes security very seriously, so never give your FSA User ID and Password to just anyone! Read the Disclaimer and click NEXT, then begin a new FAFSA Completion Form.

• We are here to help you and provide answers to all your questions as we view the site
Some of the various site screens are listed below;

– Student Demographic Information Screen
– Student Eligibility Screens
– School Selection Screen
– Dependency Determination Screens
– Parent Demographic Information Screen
– Parent Tax Information Screen

• We will also help assist the family in executing the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
This step is for the parent, in order to access the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, a parent must now enter his or her User ID and Password. Again, these are secure credentials, so do not give them out to anyone else, including the Gruber Foundation assistant. You will then be prompted to enter your first and last name, date of birth, among other fields of interest. Afterwards, these same steps will be completed for any other parent/guardian, as well as for the student.

• We then help assist the family with how to complete the Asset section, if it is applicable.
This is where you will complete any asset information, at this time.

• After this, we help guide the family on how to enter their Federal School Codes for selected schools
For this section, we will help assist the family in entering school codes for all schools to whom they want the result sent.

• Next, we explain to the student and the parent how to electronically sign the FAFSA
The student signs first after reading the full Certification Statement. If agreed upon, they will then click on AGREE and click on SIGN. The parent then does the same. Once complete, click on SUBMIT MY FAFSA NOW.

• If necessary, we will show you how to save your work and how to return to it in the future


• We will explain to your family how you will receive your results
The confirmation page will appear at this point. It provides information about the schools you selected, as well as gives you the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). It is recommended to print or bookmark this page to save it for your records. In about 3-5 days your child will receive an email stating that your FAFSA was processed and that your Student Information Report or SAR is available for you to print and/or save. This report can also be accessed by logging back into the FAFSA site.

• Then, we explain how your results will be sent to schools listed on your FAFSA application
Your FAFSA will now be processed through what is called the Central Process System and a number of edits and matches will take place. Each school that you listed will receive what is called an Institutional Student Information Record or ISIR. This has all the information on it that you entered into the FAFSA and it provides the official EFC. It will contain the results of those edits and database matches as well.

• We will also explain the receiving schools’ process, as well as how to request an award letter
Generally, schools review admissions applications and acceptances and use this information to determine if they will ‘package’ a student. The websites of all colleges will have a Financial Aid page and that page will tell you more about the specific policies and procedures for each school. In some instances, you may need to contact the financial aid office and let them know you would like to have an Award Letter issued to you. Most often, they will be looking for whether you have applied for Admission to the school. The website will also generally have institutional forms if that aid office requires additional forms. There will also usually be directions for any additional forms/documentation you may need to submit as a result of the edits and matches discussed.

• We include a brief overview of Federal Grants and Loans
Once the school issues an Award Letter, it will tell you the actual dollar amount of Federal Student Aid for which you qualify. Some awards may be grants. Grants are‘free money’ from the Federal government that does not need to be repaid. Grants are very income sensitive and unfortunately, often do not help middle-income families. Your Award Letter may have awards of Federal Direct Loans. Loans are available to the student in limited amounts. Student loans are not based on established credit and they go into repayment six months after the student leaves school. There is also a Loan Program for Parents called the PLUS loan. These are based on credit and go into repayment once the loan is fully disbursed which will happen shortly after the Spring Term begins. The great thing about PLUS loans is that you can borrow up to the student’s full Cost of Attendance (minus any other aid the student receives). You might also receive an Award for Federal Work Study. This is generally an on-campus job in which the student earns money to help with their educational costs.

• We will also explain the State Aid and Institutional Aid programs
Depending on the type of institution to which you apply, you may be eligible for State grants and/or Institutional Aid. Many State grant programs are designed to assist middle-income families a lot more than the Federal Pell Grant, which is directed more toward low-income families. Your FAFSA results are automatically sent to your State’s grant program to initiate the application process. Institutional aid is usually highest at a private college with endowment funds (as opposed to public/State schools). Often the private colleges will award their institutional aid to offset the overall tuition and bring the expense down closer to State school rates. These are just some examples. Every school has its own formula for awarding institutional aid and some may require an additional application in order to be considered for institutional aid.

• Finally, we briefly mention “safe” scholarship search sites and how to avoid scams
There are thousands of scam searches out there for faulty FAFSA services that charge an unnecessary fee. We want to warn you in advance that you should never have to pay a fee for a scholarship search. Also, stay away from bait-and-switch schemes. This is where a financial aid consultant (often posing as a company), will attempt to get you into a free seminar only to ask you to pay $1000-$2000 to be your financial advisor, and/or to take advantage of unethical methods to acquire financial aid for your child, such as switching assets from one child to another, which may harm your child’s chances of financial aid in the long-run. 

INITIAL FREE SESSION: We are willing to work with you and your child as we cover all of the above content during our free initial session.

However, if you feel you or your child needs more than the initial consultation or would prefer one-on-one support with one of our Gruber staff members to complete your FAFSA application, these services are available to you for a nominal fee upon request.

Please contact us if you would like help completing your FAFSA application.

Preparation For Completing The Free Application For Federal Student Aid
Student and one parent must register for an FSA User ID.

Go to and complete the “Create an FSA ID”. Both student and at least one parent must individually get a unique FSA ID. You will need your full legal name, social security number, date of birth, email address, current mailing address and telephone number. Be sure to enter all data carefully. Your name, social security number, and date of birth will be matched against Social Security Administration records. If the match fails, the submission of your FAFSA will be delayed. It is recommended that you have your Social Security card available and enter the number directly from the card.

Both the student and one parent will electronically “sign” the FAFSA using the FSA ID, so it is important to obtain your FSA ID prior to your FAFSA appointment.

Documents needed for FAFSA appointment.

You will need to gather the following information to complete the FAFSA:

• Social Security Number for both student and parent (same parent that obtained an FSA ID)
• Alien Registration Number for both student and parent (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
• 2016 Federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned by both the student and parent

NOTE: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool – DRT. Two parent working families MUST have information available to determine the amount of income earned from work for each parent.

• Bank statements and records of investments for both student and parent (if applicable)
• Records of untaxed income received in 2016 for both student and parent (if applicable)
• An FSA ID for both student and parent, to sign electronically

Documents needed to obtain your 2016 Federal Income Tax Return data by DRT

You will need to have the following information available to complete the IRS Data Retrieval process:

• Full legal name of the taxpayer.
• Social Security number of the taxpayer. • Date of Birth of taxpayer.
• The taxpayer’s filing status on the 2016 Federal tax return (for example, “Married Filing Jointly”).
• Complete street address of taxpayer as it appeared on the 2016 Federal tax return.

For more information on Federal Student Aid;  Click Here

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