Why You Should Start the FAFSA Now, Not Later
Published on Nov 2, 2018 by Ali Datko
Submitting this form as early as possible is in your best financial interests.
The FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a form that the government and universities use to determine your eligibility for financial aid, such as federal grants, work-study, and loans. Simply put, it can help you get money for college, and it’s free to fill out, so you should begin as soon as possible (if you haven’t already).
Yes, it’s true that the FAFSA requires you to gather a lot of information: social security numbers, tax returns, annual income info, and so on. But, the IRS has an option where you can transfer your tax information directly to the FAFSA. This helps you to save time and effort, by providing accurate information, minimizing your chances for errors.
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by it, or if you’re even thinking about putting it off, just pause for a moment. Answer the following statement:
“I’m going to college because ______.”
However you fill in the blank — “because I want to become financially independent,” “because I want to pursue a creative passion,” or "because I want to be successful" — keep in mind that completing the FAFSA is a crucial step in your journey to reaching your goal.
It’s also important to note that some funding is limited, which means your chance to receive aid is higher now than it will be in a few months.
“It will always be in the student’s best interest to be proactive with their financial aid,” notes Amanda Riggleman, Full Sail University’s Online Financial Aid Student Relations Team Lead, in a 2016 article titled “What Recent Changes to the FAFSA Mean To You.”
“One of the benefits to submitting a FAFSA sooner rather than later is that it gives the students and parents more time to obtain important documents,” says Riggleman. It also gives your school’s Financial Aid department more time to resolve conflicting information and to see what institutional scholarships you may be eligible for. This head start, she explains, translates to less stress for everyone involved — especially you, the student.
Ready to get the ball rolling? Per government guidelines, students can submit the FAFSA as early as October 1 each year. If you have questions, need information about Full Sail-specific deadlines, want to explore more financial aid options, or need to better understand the steps to completing your FAFSA, our Financial Aid department is here to help. Give them a call at 800.226.7625.