When it comes to attending post-secondary schools, studying and getting good grades are just half the battle for many students. The other half is paying for it.
Fortunately there are a number of financial aid options available, many of which can be applied for with just one form – the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This form is used to award all federal student aid, including grants, loans and work-study, as well as many state and school aid packages. However, your state and school may require you to fill out other forms, and their deadlines may be earlier than the federal one.
The Department of Education starts accepting FAFSAs Jan. 1, 2012, for the 2012-2013 school year. Filing your application early could improve your chances of receiving aid, because many states have a limited amount of money to give out and they often distribute it on a first-come, first-served basis.
The best place for information about student financial aid is the financial aid office at the school you or your student plan to attend. For information about and to complete an online FAFSA, log on to www.fafsa.ed.gov.