***If you are a senior in high school: October 1st marks a critical pivot point in making college more affordable for your family.***
The FAFSA website goes live on October 1st. Consequently, this is a critical mile marker in the college admissions cycle; you must submit your FAFSA to receive your fair share of the $120 billion the U.S. Department of Education distributes in need-based financial aid each year. Quick overview:
- We advise families to submit this form as soon as possible following October 1st.
- Typically, it will take you an hour to complete the form.
- There are huge advantages to filing your FAFSA early.
Here are seven reasons to start working on your FAFSA now and submit it soon:
- Colleges have a limited amount of financial aid, and some begin distributing those dollars in the fall. Families submitting their FAFSA later may miss the opportunity to receive their maximum financial aid packages.
- Give yourself more time to collect the forms you need to reference as you fill out the FAFSA.
- Gain more time to engage with colleges where you gain admission so you fully understand what’s included in your aid package.
- Have longer to compare financial aid offers from all the colleges you’re considering.
- Appeal for additional funds, if your financial aid package does not feel affordable, before you need to finalize your college choice.
- Allow yourself time to apply to additional colleges if your early aid award(s) feels inadequate.
- Increase your time to seek merit scholarship opportunities beyond need-based financial aid.
Likewise, Sections 1.5 “Financial Aid and Scholarships” and Section 3.4 “Claim Your Financial Aid and Scholarships” of our 15-Part Video Series are designed specifically to help families navigate the financial aid application process.
Importantly, many colleges provide merit-based scholarships that complement need-based aid. Some of these scholarships have separate applications and deadlines, so make sure you research all scholarship opportunities for colleges on your application list.