The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a tool that students use to apply for more than $120 billion in federal funds. Unfortunately, each year many students miss out.
Even if you don’t think you or your child qualify for federal aid, filling out a FAFSA is important because it could be used to determine eligibility for nonfederal aid and private funds.
FAFSA available October 1, 2017
Previously, the FAFSA was unavailable until January. A recent change makes the application available October 1, 2017. That’s because the 2018-19 FAFSA can be completed with your 2016 tax info.
Avoid FAFSA mistakes
Don’t forgo federal student aid by making one of the following common filing mistakes:
Mistake: Not reading the instructions or questions
Tip: Answer all questions – even if the answer is zero. If left blank, the question will be considered unanswered. Check the FAFSA website if you are unsure of definitions of key FAFSA terms.
Mistake: Incorrect, incomplete or non-matching data
Tip: Complete the FAFSA online. It takes only 3-5 days to process when submitted electronically. The online version has built-in safeguards that identify and prevent many errors.
Mistake: Not filing on time
Tip: Get the application submitted ASAP. The sooner you or your child gets started, the higher the likelihood of being awarded funds since many are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Remember, students need to complete a FAFSA each year because eligibility does not carry over and can vary based on circumstances.