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File FAFSA Now: Urgent Reasons For Families To File In Early 2020 For College Aid

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Everything is different in 2020, including the FAFSA, and college students and their parents who delay completing the form this fall could lose thousands in financial aid.

Students (and their parents) submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for financial aid from federal and state governments, colleges, and universities. The financial assistance granted includes scholarships, scholarships, student employment and student loans. The application period for the 2021-22 academic year opened on October 1, 2020 and will end on June 30, 2022. Within three days to three weeks of the FAFSA filing, the student will receive a report containing information on the eligibility for financial aid. Colleges will typically send financial aid award letters with the offer of admission, or for returning students, in May or June.

About 20 million students file with FAFSA each year, and much of the aid given is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Some colleges also have advance financial aid deadlines for college financial aid scholarships. Colleges receive a fixed allowance of certain types of federal student aid, which means that latecomers could be the losers. Students who file FAFSA in the first three months tend to get double the scholarships, on average, from students who file later.

Many colleges and universities suffer financially, which means there is less money for scholarships and financial aid. And for the same reason, there may also be delays in its allocation. Also, if you took a year off, you will need to reapply for financial assistance, and you may not receive as much. After returning from a gap year, students receive on average about $ 2,500 less in financial aid, says Mark Kantrowitz, editor and vice president of research for Savingforcollege.com.

Here’s another reason to file early: you might want to appeal, and it takes time. When you complete the FAFSA, you are using financial records from two years ago – 2019 if you are applying for 2021-2022 – but if you have had any significant changes in your financial situation since then, you can and should do call. Grounds for appeal include medical issues, job losses, job insecurity or pay cuts that have had a financial impact on the family, Kantrowitz says. Attach copies of the documentation supporting your claims, such as medical bills, termination notices, and bank account statements, in a letter to the financial aid office, along with a detailed explanation of your change. situation.

“Needs-sensitive” colleges take a student’s financial situation into account when considering their application, while “need-insensitive” institutions generally do not. Some students will delay applying for financial aid when they apply for admission to a “need-sensitive” college because they are concerned that applying for financial aid will affect their chances of admission. However, some colleges will refuse institutional grants to these students in subsequent years, unless the student can prove that their financial situation has changed.

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