NEWARK, Del.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Many high school seniors and college students are already busy planning
spring break getaways, but February is also Financial Aid Awareness
Month, and for those students who may have procrastinated, now’s the
time to complete the all-important Free Application for Federal Student
Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the gateway to more than $150
billion in grants, work-study funds, and federal student loans.
Schools rely on information students submit through the FAFSA to develop
financial aid packages, states use it to determine student eligibility
for state-based aid, and some scholarships require it as part of their
applications. Sallie Mae, the nation’s saving, planning, and paying for
college company, offers a free online
guide of tools and tips to help families successfully navigate the
Here are some key updates about the FAFSA:
State deadlines are right around the corner. Some state
deadlines for grant and scholarship aid have already passed and others
are quickly approaching, including Connecticut on Feb. 15 and Michigan
on March 1. In addition, several states, including Massachusetts,
Texas, and Washington, award aid on a first-come, first-served basis.
All state deadlines are listed at fafsa.ed.gov/deadlines.
Families must use 2015 tax information. This should help
simplify the application process, as families will no longer need to
estimate their taxes for the FAFSA, or put off completing the form
until they file their 2016 taxes. By using 2015 tax returns, more
families will be able to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which
can help save valuable time by importing tax information directly into
Award letters may be issued earlier. Some colleges have already
begun sending financial aid award letters to students who have
completed the FAFSA. Award letters provide important information,
including the school’s estimated Cost of Attendance and the financial
aid package — including scholarships, grants, and loans — offered to
the student. For more information on how to effectively analyze award
letters, visit SallieMae.com/awardletters.
“Financial Aid Awareness Month serves as an important reminder to
complete the FAFSA, which is essentially a passport to billions of
dollars in student aid, including grants, work-study funds, and federal
student loans,” said Martha Holler, senior vice president, Sallie Mae.
“And for those students and families who may have just begun exploring
higher education financing options, Financial Aid Awareness Month is a
great time to start building a plan.”
According to “How
America Pays for College 2016,” the national study by Sallie Mae and
Ipsos, those with a plan to pay for college are more likely to pursue a
bachelor’s degree, they are more willing and able to spend on college,
and they borrow less.
Sallie Mae has several tools and resources to help families get started
on a plan. Families can use Sallie Mae’s College
Planning Calculator to research expected college costs and build a
long-term customized savings plan to fit their goals. The company also
has a free mobile app, College
Ahead, which helps high school juniors and seniors develop a road
map to help plan and pay for college. Families can also access Scholarship
Search by Sallie Mae, a free scholarship search tool to access 5
million scholarships valued at $24 billion.
Additionally, the new SallieMae.com
is a one-stop destination for students and families who may need money
for college and want to explore their options, or who are just looking
for information on how to get started.
To watch Sallie Mae’s “Beginner’s Guide to FAFSA” video, and get
additional tips about completing and submitting the FAFSA, visit salliemae.com/fafsa.
Sallie Mae (Nasdaq: SLM) is the nation’s saving, planning, and
paying for college company. Whether college is a long way off or just
around the corner, Sallie Mae offers products that promote responsible
personal finance, including private education loans, Upromise rewards,
scholarship search, college financial planning tools, and online retail
banking. Learn more at SallieMae.com.
Commonly known as Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are
not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.