Seven states are recommending early FAFSA applications
Story by ALEXA WELLS
Seven states are urging students to prepare their Federal Student Aid Application (FAFSA) early this year due to high demand of state funds.
Financial aid is awarded on a first come first serve basis and this year the funds seem to be running out sooner then planned.
“States independently choose how much money to provide its in-state students financial aid and each state sets its own policies and amounts,” student financial aid consultant Mary Fallon said.
Utah is not one of the states included on the list of early deadlines for applications. The list includes; Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and Washington. These seven states have been given a application due date of as close to Jan. 1 as possible.
University of Utah student, Andrew Cho has been using FAFSA to fund his schooling for the past three years. He is set to graduate in fall 2014.
“If I wasn’t able to receive my school loans, I don’t know what I would do. I would have to find myself a full time job or transfer to community college that costs less,” said Cho.
Student Financial Aid Services, Inc. is a fee-based company for helping students with financial aid applications. They have helped more than one million American families with financial aid applications and helped them get the maximum aid amount.
“The states are telling students that aid – especially need-based grants – will go quickly because state funds are limited because of the economic recession of the past three years,” said Brad Baker, president of Student Services, Inc.
Once these states funds run out, they simply cannot give out any more loans, or grants to students.
“Speed and accuracy are essential when preparing a FAFSA,” Baker said, “More students – especially first-time FAFSA applicants – are seeking professional assistance to deal with the form’s complexity and to beat state and college deadlines. The aid process is competitive and it pays to submit early.”
Richard Anderson will be attending the University of Utah in fall 2013. He just finished his application for FAFSA and is waiting to hear back on the status of his application.
“The Financial Aid office at the University of Utah was a big help whenever I had questions about my application. It feels good to be going to a school that has places that can be such a great resource for students who need help. I am excited for school this coming fall and I am glad that I am able to utilize my options for tuition funding with FAFSA,” said Anderson.
The Student Services, Inc. is offering extended hours to help students get their applications completed on time and as early as possible. This is recommended as to help students with non-traditional housing situations, or understanding the application.
Student Services’ guide How to Pay for College the Smart Way can be a tool for helping students get the most financial aid help and can assist in the application process.
“One advantage of our service is we prioritize FAFSA applications by state and college deadlines to assure students who are up against a deadline receive attention immediately,” Baker said.
Even though the tax deadline is April 15, a tax return is not required to submit a FAFSA application. The Aid application can be estimated in order to complete the form by the deadline. When the student files their taxes, and is able to get their parents tax information, they can make the necessary adjustments to the application after the deadline. But it is “highly recommended” for students to estimate income to meet their deadline for their state.
Utah is not one of the states that included a note with deadline information posted on the U.S. Department of Education website or Student Financial Aid Services’ website, www.fafsa.com. For detailed application dates for each state, visit http://www.fafsa.com/fafsa-deadlines/fafsa-state-deadlines