Post image for College Parents: Sleeping on the FAFSA Could Cost You Dearly

College Parents: Sleeping on the FAFSA Could Cost You Dearly

by Alonzo on December 13, 2011

Financing a college education is enough to keep any parent up at night, but missteps in the financial aid process could cost college students thousands of dollars in lost aid.

No where is this more evident than with the FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid). FAFSA is the doorway to federally funded financial assistance. Completing the online FAFSA form is an essential step to getting the aid your child deserves.

Yet the form is not only time consuming, but also requires income tax information from the most recent tax year. This is why many parents procrastinate in completing the online FAFSA application.

But procrastination can be costly.

While the federal deadline for completing the FAFSA application is June 30th 2012, many states and colleges also use information from the FAFSA form to determine how much financial assistance they’ll offer.

Many parents are unaware that state and college deadlines for completing the FAFSA often fall far earlier than the federal June 30th deadline. Wait until June and you could miss out on additional state and university aid.

Connecticut, for instance, sets a February deadline for priority consideration of state financial aid and other states have early March deadlines.

Worse yet, many states allocate financial aid funds on a first-come, first-serve basis. Procrastinate in filing the FAFSA and your state may not have any financial aid left to offer your child. Illinois, for example, advises families to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1, 2012 as awards are made until funds depleted.

When it comes to financial aid it pays not to delay.

Parents may begin filling out the FAFSA form on January 1, 2012. You will need your 2011 income tax information on hand (but you don’t necessarily have to have filed your income taxes before completing the FAFSA).

To find out more about completing the FAFSA, visit the Federal Student Aid or College Board website.

Photo Credit: TypeFriend (flickr)

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