Graduation may still be a few months away for high school seniors, but it’s not too early to start thinking about financial aid for college.
Ancilla College Director of Financial Aid Marcy Hopple says the Free Application for Federal Student Aid will be available to students considering college starting in a few weeks, “They can start completing the form as early as January 1, so they need to start gathering their tax documents and getting ready to start filling the form out.”
She says there are some steps students and their families can take now to be ready to fill out the application, “For now, they can get their check stubs ready, but then in January they should start getting their W-2s from their employer or their 10-99 forms and then completing their tax form itself. Once they do that, they can start completing the FAFSA. They can also complete it without completing their tax return; they can estimate what their income’s going to be.”
In addition to federal aid, there are also state grants available. Hopple says even for students who aren’t sure whether they’ll be attending college in the fall, it’s a good idea to fill out the application, “There’s no obligation to attend college. It’s free to file. They want to make sure they get it filed by March 10, in case they do decide to go to school in Indiana, and include an Indiana school. That way, they’re considered come August. If they decide they want to go somewhere, then they’re considered for Indiana grants ahead of time.”
She says some form of financial aid is available to families of all income levels. For more information, visit fafsa.gov.