College admission season is well underway. If you’ve received your acceptance letters and narrowed down which ones you want to go to, congratulations! Now let me introduce you to our dear friend FAFSA.
What is FAFSA?
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the application used by nearly all colleges and universities to determine eligibility for federal, state and college-sponsored financial aid, including grants, education loans and work study programs.
The U.S. Department of Education uses this form to determine your EFC (Expected Family Contribution) based on elements such as income, assets and other household information. These results are automatically transmitted to the financial aid offices of the schools you list on your application.
When should I file?
The sooner you file the better! Many types of financial aid, especially grant based, loans and work study programs are limited and given on a first-come, first-served basis. The sooner your FAFSA is fully processed and has been released to your school’s financial aid admins, the better your chances of being considered for the maximum amount that you are eligible for.
If choosing a college has anything to do with the kind of money you’ll be getting for financial aid it is crucial that you complete this form in a timely manner. Certain schools have different time lines so be sure to check on each one and specify whether the form’s date is concluded by the date it was submitted or processed.
If you’re planning on attending school fall semester, the federal expiration date for the 2014-2015 school year is June 30th, 2015 via http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. But keep in mind that each college probably has their own deadline.
What if I don’t get enough Financial Aid?
Before you receive your results, there are ways to prepare yourself for that heavy dollar sign. This calculator can give you a rough estimate of how much college will cost. Knowing exactly how much your college education will cost you will help you figure out a plan on how you’re going to pay for it. Avoid going into significant student loan and credit card debt to fund your education by saving as much as you can.
Apply for scholarships! Here are 10 sources to help you sort through which one might be right for you.
Want some more helpful financial information to help keep the cost of college down? Visit our Student Loan Education Center to learn more about:
- How to earn money from part-time jobs
- How to budget your expenses and earnings during and before college
- How to save money on everything from text books, to rent, to clothing and electronics
To speak to a credit counselor today about budgeting and managing your finances, call 800-769-3571.