Happy new year to you all! Now that 2012 is upon us, it means something else major is too: financial aid season. Given all of this, now is definitely the time to increase your awareness of the financial aid process. As a starter, let’s kick things off with a few important reminders.
1). File your taxes.
Yeah, a new year means tax season, and everyone’s gotta do it. Taxes are ESPECIALLY important to get a jump on when considering financial aid for college. In order to complete the ever-important FAFSA, students and families must have an accurate picture of their finances to report to the government on the application. The sooner you have your taxes and other important documents filed, the sooner you can apply for federal financial aid!
2). File your FAFSA.
January 1st marked Day # 1 for this application. If you’re a veteran college student or the parent of one, you know that the old cliché, “The early bird gets the worm” really does apply here. Applying for aid early means a few things: you’re at the top of the list for maximum financial aid amounts (more grant and loan money), and, of course, it takes a load off your shoulders! Consider speaking with a financial aid consultant for assistance with the paperwork.
3). Know your deadlines.
We already know the significance of January 1st, and that’s behind us, so let’s move forward with a few more things to bear in mind. While it’s early to be concerned about the end of FAFSA season, it’s also important to remember when that is: June 30th. Students must have their federal paperwork submitted by this date, according to FAFSA standards. HOWEVER, think of this as the general baseline for everyone. This is because individual colleges and universities have their own preferences and deadlines for financial documentation. Your school could perhaps require that the FAFSA be completed by April 30th, for example. Just as families must keep on top of financial aid planning, schools do too, and schedules vary. You’ll want to abide by such deadlines, as your school will be distributing your financial aid (Reminder: FAFSA only estimates the amount, colleges allot it to students). Other deadlines, such as for the CSS Profile, are also imperative.
The year is still young, and there is a significant amount of time for you to get your colleges concerns in order. But do make it a priority—the only person it will benefit is YOU! Stop by Go Financial Aid’s solutions page for more college guidance.