by Casey Chin, Local Admissions Expert from The Tutoring Club
If you’ve got a student who is currently a senior in high school and has been applying for college admissions for the past few months, you’ve probably heard of the FAFSA form! What is FAFSA? FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
The FAFSA is a form that should be completed sometime between January and early March and is used to determine the amount of money each family is expected to contribute towards college fees. Additionally, the results of the FAFSA are used in determining awards for certain scholarships, grants, work study opportunities, and loan amounts. Completed FAFSA forms are typically due to the schools by March 15th, but awards are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis which is why I suggest submitting the form in January! Tax returns are helpful to complete the form because the FAFSA questions will refer to specific lines on your most recent tax return, but do not have to be finalized – estimated amounts can be used for the initial form. Many families choose to opt out of completing the form because it can be a long process, and they don’t think they will qualify for aid from the government. However, it is my opinion from personal experience as a former Scholarship Coordinator at a university that ALL families should complete the FAFSA. Academic Administration use the information on the FAFSA forms to award their own scholarships and grants and the criteria for “need-based” could be different at the university level than what is required by the federal government.
Before completing your FAFSA form, contact a financial advisor with college planning experience to discuss asset management in order to maximize your full eligibility potential for federal aid. If you are not familiar with the FAFSA form, or if your advisor has not offered assistance in this area, contact Chris Morrison with Investment Management Group. His knowledge and expertise in the financial business can help guide you through the steps of the FAFSA and beyond with additional financial college planning assistance.
The entire college planning and financial aid process can be very overwhelming! Taking it step-by-step will help alleviate some of the stress! If you have any questions or need additional help, please be sure to consult with a college planning specialist or guidance counselor.
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