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Make a New Year's resolution to file the FAFSA early

Monday, December 31, 2012
For many high school seniors the winter holiday provided a break from the college search. However, now that the new year has begun, it is time to focus on another important part of the college application process – completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). January 1 is the first day that the FAFSA for the 2013–2014 academic year can be submitted.

The FAFSA is the only application necessary for federal financial aid programs including Stafford Loans and Pell Grants, and it is also required by states and many colleges for awarding need-based aid. Many education experts agree that it is to your advantage to complete and submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1. By doing so, you will be given priority consideration for some federal funding, and may be eligible for additional financial aid such as grants and some scholarships, many of which are typically awarded on a first-come first-serve basis to eligible applicants.

Financial aid experts at student loan company Sallie Mae recently outlined some tips and suggestions for college-bound seniors filling out the FAFSA. Top suggestions include having all necessary documentation at hand before completing the form, knowing state deadlines for submitting the FAFSA and using 2011 tax returns if necessary (you can make adjustments later).

"The FAFSA is the key to unlocking the financial aid that’s so important to students and families," said Joe DePaulo, executive vice president of Sallie Mae. "By following a few simple tips as you complete the FAFSA, you can maximize your chances of receiving financial aid that will make higher education more affordable."ADNFCR-16000756-ID-800936816-ADNFCR - helping you find colleges and universities that offer the accredited programs that most interest you.

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Make a New Year's resolution to file the FAFSA early
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