Turn your college applications in early since most school’s award funds on a first-come, first-serve basis. Check into your specific college deadlines as they vary from school to school. Aim to hand in your FAFSA ASAP after January 1st. Colleges have a limited amount of financial aid options available. If you hand your application in late, you may not be eligible for student aid even if you deserve it because the college is out of money.
Think About Financial Aid Options In Advance
Consider your financial aid options a minimum of a year in advance before you plan on attending post-secondary. All the calculations for financial aid are derived from the previous tax year. If you are planning on starting college in September 2023, your tax return from 2022 will be used for the base of that first year.
If you don't start thinking about financial aid until January 2023, it will be too late to apply anything that will affect your first-year outcome. However, if this happens, you can still start the process to help you out for your second school year.
Annual Applications For Financial Aid Are Required
You will need to apply annually for financial aid. The amount is determined on a yearly basis, and therefore, you need to apply each year. If you missed this year's deadline or did not qualify, you can apply next year as your financial situation may be different, particularly after paying for one year of tuition.
Many students find that they qualify for financial aid after their first or second year since they have reduced their assets and income along the way. You can utilize a Renewal FAFSA that will save you plenty of time when you go to reapply for the next year.
If your taxes are not completed in time, you can rely on estimates. It is essential to use the information from your tax forms to finish your financial aid forms. Taxes are not due until April 15th. Do not wait until April 14th to start your tax preparation.
Get your taxes done before you file your financial aid forms. If you don't do your taxes until the deadline, chances are you won't be able to hand in your financial aid forms before the college deadline, putting you at a major disadvantage.
You can utilize estimates on your financial aid forms in the meantime and then revise those figures once your accurate numbers arrive when your taxes are complete. Strive to complete your taxes early to avoid all the hassles. It is much wiser to use concrete numbers so that there will not be any unwelcome surprises or issues.
Remember, you are allowed to ask for a re-evaluation if the amount of financial aid offered by a college does not seem to be enough. You will have to offer solid reasons why their first assessment was wrong. Begin by contacting the financial aid office with a phone call or an email.
Have all of your documentation ready in advance. Be polite and offer details. If you don't reach out with any feedback about the financial aid package, the school will assume you are happy. If there have been major changes in your life or illness with a family member, etc. mention these issues to help state your case.