At this time of year you and your college bound student will begin to hear about the “FAFSA” (if not already). But what is it and do you need to worry about it? The short answers: FAFSA stands for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid” and YES, you should fill out the FAFSA application.

Now for the long answer…

Many times folks don’t fill out of the FAFSA because they believe their income level is too high and their student will not qualify for need-based aid. However, there are other forms of monetary assistance available by completing your FAFSA beyond governmental loans. Because of the additional monies available beyond need-based aid, it is in the best interest of all college bound students and their parents to fill out the FAFSA.

FAFSA forms can be completed as early as January 1 of the student’s senior year and, contrary to popular belief, taxes do not have to be completed to fill out the FAFSA form. The earlier the FAFSA is completed the better, because most money, ie. grants, scholarships, and loans are given out on a first come basis. Students seeking scholarships late in the game may find the monies have already been allocated to students who acted on or near January 1.

Here is a quick FAFSA ‘to-do’ checklist to help get you started:

  1. Fill out and submit the FAFSA form here: https://fafsa.ed.gov/
  2. Start researching scholarships at your college, as well as private scholarships
  3. You will need to update your FAFSA once your tax information is available for 2014

Still have questions? Contact me to learn how Parros College Planning can help you with the FAFSA and other aspects in the college planning process –info@parroscollegeplanning.com.