We’re reaching the middle of the school year, and for students, that means a few things: midterms, finals, winter break…and some important dates!  We’ve covered early decision, and now it’s time for FAFSA.  For those new to the financial aid game (and for those who need a refresher!), financial aid season starts at the beginning of the calendar year.  This means the mad dash to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is on, beginning January 1st, 2012.

While FAFSA application season spans several months (January to the end of June), it is SO important to get in gear early.  Federal aid tends to run on a first-come basis, so the earlier you apply, the better your financial aid award could be.  Even though it takes about a month to figure out an estimate, and students don’t receive their actual aid money until the next school year, the financial aid pot starts out fuller and there’s more in grants and loans to offer early applicants.

With all this in mind, consider getting your materials together now (even though you have two months).  For you new kids, these items include the following: tax returns from 2010, parents’ income information, personal income information (student income), etc.  A good way to ensure that you are ready for the big show to is practice the FAFSA before that January 1st application start date.  Practice forms can be found in various locations online, or a more accurate option is to print a paper copy of the FAFSA itself.

For even more FAFSA tips and tricks, get in touch with a Go Financial Aid Consultant.  Financial Aid consultants live and breathe FAFSA, and can make sure not only that you get your application together for January 1st, but will also help you fill out the FAFSA and check its accuracy.  These steps put you “on the ball” and avoid some costly mistakes (incorrect information robs you of valuable aid funds!).

Think you’re ready?  Awesome!  Be sure that you are thorough and have all of that info!  Do yourself a favor and check out some of those links above, and visit our solutions center for additional assistance.  FAFSA—it’s on.

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