Just a reminder that beginning on October 1st, you can complete your online registration for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and the CSS/Financial Aid Profile. Links to the correct applications are below.
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
File the FAFSA early, as many federal aid funds are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Please be sure to apply using the official FAFSA site, as there are unfortunately some sites that look like the official FAFSA, but that will ask you to pay to file – you do not need to pay a fee to file the FAFSA! https://fafsa.gov/
Over the years, many parents have asked me whether they should complete the FAFSA if they believe that their income will disqualify them from receiving aid. Here is the answer provided on the government’s blog (https://blog.ed.gov/2016/10/10-myths-fafsa-financial-aid/):
MYTH 1: My parents make too much money, so I won’t qualify for any aid.
FACT: The reality is there’s no income cut-off to qualify for federal student aid. It doesn’t matter if you have a low or high income, you will still qualify for some type of financial aid, including low-interest student loans. Many factors besides income—such as your family size and your year in school—are taken into account. Your eligibility is determined by a mathematical formula, not by your parents’ income alone.
TIP: When you fill out the FAFSA, you’re also automatically applying for funds from your state, and possibly from your school as well. In fact, some schools won’t even consider you for any of their scholarships (including academic scholarships) until you’ve submitted a FAFSA. Don’t make assumptions about what you’ll get—fill out the application and find out!
In addition, if you are applying to any private colleges and want to be considered for non-federal forms of need-based financial aid, such as institutional aid, you will also need to complete the CSS Profile (https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org/). The College Board collects a fee to process the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® (PROFILE). Submitting your CSS Profile to one college or scholarship program costs $25. Additional reports are $16 each. You should only submit a PROFILE if your college or scholarship program instructs you to do so. Register at CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE at least two weeks before the earliest college or scholarship priority application date you need to meet. This date is the college or program’s deadline for submitting a completed PROFILE application.
College-specific Financial Aid
Make sure to check all of your schools’ financial aid requirements and deadlines, as they can be different from the application deadline and you don’t want to be disqualified from consideration for scholarships or other forms of aid!