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File the FAFSA to apply for many types of financial aid


Monday, July 16, 2012
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, should be an essential part of the college application process for every prospective college student.  The FAFSA is the only financial aid form necessary to receive funds from federal financial aid programs, such as Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans and Pell Grants.

In addition, many states that award scholarships, grants or loans to resident students use information contained on the FAFSA to determine student eligibility. Colleges and universities also use FAFSA-generated figures to award additional monies to students who attend their schools.

However, in a survey conducted by Sallie Mae, a financial services company, titled "How America Pays for College 2012", only 81 percent of the 1,600 students polled said that they had completed the FAFSA. Based on this total, a significant number of individuals still fail to take advantage of the financial aid programs available to them. In a previous study conducted by Sallie Mae and Gallup, 28 percent of families did not complete the FAFSA, either because they did not know about it or they believed they would not qualify.

As the FAFSA is linked to many other financial aid opportunities, it is important to keep track of all federal, state and college financial aid application deadlines. It is imperative that students get the applications in on time. Be aware that deadlines vary from state to state and that in some states the amount of state-awarded financial aid is limited.

"There are several states [and colleges] that have a first-come, first-serve basis where they have a limited pool of funds and when they run out of money, they stop awarding money," Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Finaid.org and Fastweb.org, told Reuters.

With that in mind, students should try to complete the FAFSA as close to January 1, the beginning of the filing season, as possible.ADNFCR-16000756-ID-800819444-ADNFCR

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File the FAFSA to apply for many types of financial aid
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