The Deadlines

One last note before going into more detail about how to pay for college. By far, the single greatest reason most students miss out on financial aid is that they wait to file the forms or fail to submit corrections in a timely manner. Getting financial aid, as we’ve said before, is a competition, and speed counts. In the eyes of the computer that processes your paperwork, the number that sometimes matters most is the date you submit a complete application.

Each school will have unique deadlines for both federal and institutional aid, including unique deadlines for individual scholarships. It’s in your best interest to complete each form at the absolute earliest date possible, even if you must estimate financial figures.

The FAFSA form becomes available after January 1 every year, and you can’t complete or submit it prior to this date. This means that if you’re planning to enroll in August 2005, the FAFSA itself will not become available until January 2005. This is quite different from many scholarship applications, which are often due up to 10 months before classes begin.

 
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