January 1st is the day students can begin to apply for financial aid for college and with the cost of attending a state school averaging $25,000 a year, many families are looking for any grants, scholarships and loans.
Financial aid expert, Maura Kastberg says the earlier students get a handle on all of the paperwork and financial aid information required, the easier the process gets.
“So you want to get in, let the school know that you‘re looking for financial aid,” explained Kastberg. “Even sometimes state programs will run out of money. So you want to get in, get in early and get your name in there for financial aid.”
A lot of number-crunching will need to be done in this process.
“You need parent and student social security numbers, a student’s driver’s license number, tax forms, mortgage records, investment records, anything regarding un-taxed income you might receive, social security benefits. There’s a lot of information that you need.”
She adds that it doesn’t hurt to list all of your school activities.
“The best financial aid package really starts with what you do in high school. Take the right classes, take AP, get involved in things that are outside of your academic life. Join a club, volunteer, do something other than just your academics.”