After filling out college applications, the second most important paperwork for college-bound students and their parents to complete is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which will be available in early January.
The FAFSA application determines a student’s eligibility for various grants and scholarships, such as Pell Grants and Stafford Loans.
Many colleges and universities require FAFSA even for non-need- based scholarships and academic awards.
Each college’s financial aid department determines deadlines for FAFSA applications, although most are between February and April.
Many types of financial aid, such as grants, loans and work-study programs, are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, making it important to file FAFSA applications early.
Students don’t need to wait until their parents’ taxes are filed, instead using estimated tax information.
For more information, go to www.fafsa.ed.gov.