Why it’s important to submit your FAFSA as early as possible
Higher education can be extremely expensive and getting the necessary funds ready can be a daunting task for parents who are not that well off. This is why it’s important for students to try their best to access as many funds as possible from all sources available to them. Although there are various methods to get the required funding, one of the best is to get help from the government in the way of a loan or grant. FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the application form provided by the government to enable students, and parents to apply for funds to be used for their high educational needs.
Each year, almost two million students get ready to file their FAFSA.gov forms, but most of them make the mistake of waiting for their final income tax before they start filing. This should not be allowed to happen because the earlier the forms are filed, the better chance of receiving endowment money, or scholarship awards that are available and allocated on a first come first served basis. Even if you have to guess at your income tax figures, its best to file the returns early before the majority of the applications starts coming in to swamp the officials right in the middle of the tax season.
Keep in mind that elite colleges also wait for the chance to enroll students with a high potential of becoming graduates in order to add color and character to their institutions. In the end, however, their decisions are based on the information provided by the students themselves and the manner in which they have filled their admission forms. But when it’s a question of financial aid, all they have to fall back on is the application for financial support and especially the FAFSA, which plays an important role in the final decision.
As stated before, without wasting time waiting for the current tax figures go ahead and use last year’s tax returns if your circumstances haven’t changed that much. If it has changed, make an intelligent guess and submit the figures you think are appropriate based on your calculations for the present year. Try to make them as close as possible to what you imagine would be this year’s numbers by adding or cutting back so that you can submit your FAFSA.gov form as soon as possible.
There’s no harm in this method because the moment you receive your actual numbers for the current year you can simply update the FAFSA, and it will be automatically forwarded to the colleges from you which you have requested financial aid. The colleges in question might have to modify the aid they were planning to award you, but this should not make a big difference, especially if you were able to keep as close as possible to the current figures in the first instance itself.
One of the main advantages of sending your Federal Student Aid application early is that you have a better chance of being informed of the financial support you are offered by each of the institutions early. This will give you the necessary time to compare the different aid packages from each school and help you to decide which one you prefer. The additional time you get to make your decision will no doubt help you in no small way to make the correct choice.