An important group of letters every parent should be aware of when considering college for their children is FAFSA. The free application for federal student aid is available online, but if you don’t get your name in the hat early, there might not be any funds left when the bell rings on the first day of school.
It may seem that the paperwork for college grants and financial aid are made so that no one can understand how to successfully apply and obtain assistance. Something as simple as a tax return can stop the wheels from turning and place you back at square one. If you wait until the April 15 filing date to send in your tax return, you miss getting your application in early and having the best chances of obtaining college funds.
You can conveniently find deadlines for filing by visiting www.fafsa.ed.gov/deadlines.htm at the FAFSA website. All you need to do is select your state from the drop-down menu and what college your child plans to attend. Keep in mind that your application should be submitted early.
Who Gets the Scholarships?
Scholarships offered in your area are often aimed at the top three percent of the graduating class. What this often means is a few students may get many of the scholarship offers, but they can’t possibly use them all. In some cases, the scholarships that are turned back in go to other deserving students, but many times the money goes back into the fund until the next award.
Not landing in the top 3% in no way indicates that your student is not college material. It simply means you’ll have to work a little harder to get funding assistance for college expenses.
If your child is not in that upper level, you may be able to find out what happens to scholarships that are not awarded due to default. If you only have time to apply to a limited number of programs, it would be better to spend your efforts on those who will definitely fund the scholarship to someone.
Apply for as many grants and scholarships as you can and as early as possible. Those who obtain college funding assistance are the ones who spend the extra time and learn everything they can about FAFSA.