October is just a couple of weeks away and that means it’s almost time to begin filing for financial aid. Colleges use the FAFSA to establish your family’s eligibility for funding to help pay for college, so it’s in your best interest to apply and to do so as early as possible.
To get an idea of your child’s “demonstrated need” at the colleges on their list, use the net price calculator on each college’s website. If your senior is applying for the 2023-2024 school year, the family’s 2021 tax returns will be required.
Starting the financial aid application
Students should begin the process by creating their Federal Student Aid ID. Parents should create their FSA ID as well, but only after the student has created theirs.
Even for those who think they will not qualify for institutional aid, you must file the FAFSA in order to get the federal student loan process started.
Why you want to check ‘YES’!
The most important thing is to be consistent: if the college application asks “Are you applying for financial aid?” and you check YES, make sure you list that college when you file the FAFSA or you run the risk of your college application being marked as incomplete. If you check NO, don’t confuse the admissions office by including the college on your FAFSA.
The colleges you’re applying to may also require the CSS Profile for institutional need-based aid so it’s best to ask your colleges of choice about this requirement.
You may also need the FAFSA for some merit-based scholarships, so don’t rule it out just because you think you don’t qualify for need-based aid. Verify each institution’s requirements by contacting the admissions office directly, or visiting their website.
September is the month to carefully consider the pros and cons of applying for need-based aid. If you’d like us to guide you through this or any other part of the college process, book a complimentary call and let’s chat.