FAFSA = Financial Aid = Money for College
It’s FAFSA time!
Starting January 1, 2016 students can file a FREE Application for Federal Student Aid. Don’t assume you don’t qualify for financial aid. Over 40% of families who could be receiving financial help to pay for college don’t bother applying for it. Why? Are you going to be one of those families?
Get smart about college. It is expensive but there is over $248 Billion dollars’ worth of student financial aid available in the United States. $165 billion from the Federal government, $10 billion from state government and grants, $49 billion from universities and colleges, and another $24 billion from private sources including scholarships. Some of this money comes in the form of loans which have to be repaid, but at least $70 billion of it comes as “free” money with no string attached!
How do you get in line? File a FAFSA.
So you assume you make too much money, surprise, some colleges base their merit awards on the FAFSA information!
The FAFSA is used by both public and private institutions. It is used by your state and the US Government to calculate a financial proposal which includes how much a family is expected to pay, how much grant money and low-interest loans are available, and how much of a gap there is between the public money and what you hope your school will offer. Individual schools look at the proposal and offer students scholarships, grants, work-study, or private loans to cover college costs. Most private schools require that students collect what they can from public sources before they off a financial aid package, and in some cases merit based aid.
A number of sources offer FREE FAFSA filing assistance:
The Federal Government: fafsa.ed.gov
US Dept. of Education: studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa
California Student Aid Commission: www.csac.ca.gov/
Big Future from College Board: bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/financial-aid-101/how-to-complete-the-fafsa
Nerd Wallet: www.nerdwallet.com/nerdscholar/fafsa/guide
Take your pick, but do your research NOW. To get the most aid, FILE THE FAFSA AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AFTER THE OPENING DATE OF JANUARY 1, 2016. Be truthful. If you are not ready to file your taxes for 2015, then make your best possible estimate based on last year’s taxes. You can correct and change information after you file, but you will not get any aid if you do not file!
Read about filing, gather your documents, sit down and start working on the FAFSA application as soon as possible. In this case, time is money.
The FAFSA can be filled in a submitted on-line at fafsa.ed.gov. Heck, they even have pop-up answers, as well as live and email help to answer your questions. Get it done now.
Here’s an excellent explanation about what happens after you file the FAFSA: studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/next-steps
So, what are you waiting for? Get smart about paying for college!
GET SMART and get the help you deserve.
Get Smart for College
Independent Educational Consultant
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