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Tax Time = FAFSA Time

January 31, 2012

So, you are past Christmas and starting to receive all kinds lovely W-2’s, 1098’s, 1099’s, etc. You realize that April 15th (17th this year) is just around the corner, but there is a more daunting task looming ahead. The FAFSA form is beckoning for all parents of high school seniors. Perhaps, you feel overwhelmed. I mean what is FAFSA after all?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form every parent of a college bound student should embrace. FAFSA is a necessary evil for any student attending college. Parents everywhere need to learn to love FAFSA and fill this vital form out. Choose between online or paper, but just fill it out. It is essential for loans, grants, and scholarships of all kinds. Basically, if you want to pay for all of your student’s costs, don’t worry about the FAFSA. FAFSA is like any other government form; it looks intimating, perhaps confusing, and you just want it to go away.

Let’s start with a few basics. The first step is finding the right web site. And forget any that say ".com, .org", or anything else. Remember FAFSA is free. If it asks for a credit card payment, close out of that site fast. Other details are deadlines, accuracy, and school codes. The preferred method is the online form, since it has faster results and schools prefer this method. A paper form can be found on the website, but any mistakes will take longer to correct. 

There is a helpful online guide that can walk you through many questions. First thing, breathe! It is all okay; the FAFSA form will not kill you. Just make sure you get it done before that impending deadline. For students attending a Missouri school, the deadline is April 2, 2012. Deadlines are important, but in this case, beating the deadline is imperative.

Why? FAFSA not only is for student loans and parent loans, but many schools won’t award other monies until they have the FAFSA information. Many schools have a first come, first serve policy, and scholarship awards run out. So, the next Einstein that lives under your roof might not get any extra free money even if you don't beat that nasty deadline.

Linda H.
South Independence Branch

Tags: financial aid

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