It’s finally October, everyone’s favorite time of year: the time of year when everyone can get a jump-start on their FAFSAs!
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the application that all college students must fill out and submit if they wish to get federal student aid.
According to the FAFSA website, studentaid.ed.gov, the federal government started accepting FAFSA applications for the 2018 fall semester on Oct. 1, and applications must be submitted by June 30, 2018.
Associate Director of KSC’s Financial Aid Office Deborah Nichols said the FAFSA gets more stressful the longer students wait to complete it. “Do it now,” she said. “Get the stress over and done with.”
Nichols said the federal government changed the start of the FAFSA filing period from January to October to help with school recruitment and to take some stress off of students. She also said she likes the change because it gives students a three-month head start on Keene State College’s FAFSA priority deadline.
Nichols said students who submit by the priority deadline are the ones who end up being eligible for as much student aid as possible. Nichols also said, the federal government chooses 30 percent of all filers for a verification process. She said the earlier students submit, the more time they’ll have to send in the required documents if they are selected.
According to a PDF of the application on fafsa.ed.gov, the FAFSA has over 69 questions for the student who’s filing and 39 questions for that student’s parents. Many of the questions have multiple parts, require tax and income information and have lengthy explanations and rules that can be found at the bottom of the form.
Nichols said in order to fill out your FAFSA, you need tax information from two years ago. She said taxes from two years ago are used because it is more likely that they have already been filed and returned.
Most college students will have to fill out the FAFSA in their college career. KSC junior Jason Macie said he fills it out every year.
“It’s a fun process,” he said while rolling his eyes, “but it’s not difficult at all, just a minor annoyance.” Macie also said he applies for the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) to get grants from his home state of Vermont.
KSC junior Daija Germain said the FAFSA takes her a long time and that it is confusing. “It would be helpful if it was explained more or if more help was available.”
Nichols said the financial aid office tries to help KSC students with their FASFAs. She said once the FAFSA deadline approaches, the financial aid office will hold FAFSA filing workshops in the Mason Library that helps students understand how to complete the process of filing. A date for the workshops has not been set yet.
Nichols said the financial aid office also goes out into the community to do outreach and teach prospective college students about the importance of the FAFSA. She said they recently visited Monadnock Regional High School, and students are also welcome to come into the Financial Aid Office anytime to ask questions and for one-on-one meetings when filing their FAFSA.
“File your FAFSA,” Nichols said. “No reason not to file it now.”
Alex Fleming can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org