Why Filing The FAFSA Early Can Get You More Financial Aid – Six Steps To Follow

Every year, two million new students are ready file their first FAFSA form. But too many of them are waiting until they get Types Of Financial Evaluation their final income tax figures before they file. If this is your first FAFSA filing, don’t wait… file now… here’s how.
Colleges and universities look at incoming freshman with closer scrutiny because they are new to the system. They are trying to find quality students that have potential to add character to the campus and academic life. They are also looking for students that possess a high probability of graduating and keeping their retention numbers high.
But they can only make decisions based on the information you provide. Some of that information comes from your admissions application and essays. Some comes from Loans For Bankrupts other sources. But when it comes to financial aid awards, a great deal of the information comes from your financial aid forms and specifically your FAFSA filing.
Six Steps To More Financial Aid
File Early: After January first you can file the FAFSA for the coming year. Even if you are just using your best guess for the income tax numbers, you should file early. College financial aid offices are swamped by March of every year as the majority of FAFSA applications come in during the middle of tax season.
By filing early, any college specific aid, endowment money, scholarships or other merit aid is usually still available and waiting to be allocated on a first come, first served basis. If your student is eligible for any of this additional financial aid, you have a better chance of receiving it before it has been given out. So be sure to file early… especially on your first FAFSA.
Use Last Years Tax Return: If your income tax situation has not changed very much, you can use the previous years tax information. If you have significant changes, try to make appropriate additions or reductions in the numbers before you submit. Try to get the numbers as close as you can, but get them submitted so the colleges can get you their financial aid offer as soon as possible.
Update ASAP: Once you actually have the final income tax numbers for the current year, simply update the FAFSA and it will automatically be sent to each of your requested colleges. It may make a small modification in your financial aid award, but if you were close with your initial filing, the changes should be minor.
Review and Compare Early: The advantage to getting your financial aid award letters early is that it gives you and your student more time to compare the offers and see which schools are offering you the best financial aid package. This extra time can make a huge difference in your final decision and normally will make it substantially easier to decide.
Appeal If Necessary: By getting your offers early, it provides plenty of time to select your top choices and appeal the top two or three financial aid offers. It rarely hurts to ask for more aid, but if you don’t ask, you will never know. If you wait until the last-minute, or close to the acceptance dates, your stress will go up and your efforts will be rushed. (Also make sure to research and do a proper appeal.)
Finalize Your Plans: Because you got an early jump on most of the other two million students, you are likely to have received the best offers and appealed them for any additional aid before they have even started the process. Make your final comparisons, decide on your best course of action and get your deposit ready. Sign your acceptance forms and get them delivered. Now you can enjoy the rest of your student’s senior year in high school.
Summary: For financial aid departments, early is always better. Their minds are fresh, they are less stressed and have plenty of time to review all the applications thoroughly. After the rush starts, stress levels rise, financial aid dwindles and financial aid officers become less productive. They do their best, but most of these later applications get a quick once over and a basic standard offer. Don’t let this happen to your students future.
Your first FAFSA sets the stage for all four years and a good aid package in year one is much easier to maintain once the college offers it. It is much harder to get them to change their mind in subsequent years, once they have allocated all their resources. The aid that went to their existing senior class, now becomes available for next years class of incoming freshman. So file early and get your best offers now.

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