If you’re a senior in high school and hoping to get financial aid for college, start the New Year off right and make it a priority to get your FAFSA completed in January.
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is your first step in securing money for college, including grants and loans. The FAFSA is used to apply for other forms of aid, such as those from the state, and those deadlines vary, so it’s in your best interest to get the FAFSA completed as soon as possible.
We recommend that you fill out the FAFSA even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for aid. Unsubsidized federal student loans are not based on financial need, so almost everyone qualifies for these loans.
It’s probably easiest to complete the FAFSA online and sign it electronically using a PIN . However, if you prefer, you can get a paper FAFSA from your high school guidance counselor.
When you’re getting ready to fill out the FAFSA, plan ahead so you have all the right documents ready. Among the documents you’ll need are your and your parents 2008 tax documents — an incentive to get those completed as soon as possible as well!
Be prepared to spend about two hours completing the application this first time. In future years, it won’t take as long. If you start the application online, you don’t have to complete it all at once. You can save your work and return to it later if need be.
Got any questions about financial aid? Ask us!