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FAFSA® Application Season Officially Opens October 1: Here’s What Students and Families Need to Know and Why Filing As Soon As Possible Is Critical

09/29/2022

Completing the FAFSA® Can Help Make College More Affordable, Yet 75% of Families Unaware of FAFSA® Open Date and Just Over 50% Know All Students Are Eligible

Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is one of the most important steps students and families can take to receive free money – including scholarships and grants – for college. The key is getting in line for that aid as soon as possible, some of which can be first-come, first served or from limited funds. Three-quarters (75%) of families, however, are unaware they can complete the FAFSA® beginning in October and only a little over half (54%) were aware all families can file a FAFSA®, potentially missing out on opportunities to make college more affordable.

Sallie Mae© offers the following FAFSA® tips and also offers a free step-by-step guide through Nitro College to help families complete the all-important form with confidence:

  • Complete the FAFSA® on October 1 (or soon after) —The FAFSA® is the gateway to more than $112 billion in scholarships, grants, state-aid, and federal financial aid and schools use the information provided to create financial aid packages. The sooner families complete the FAFSA®, the better the chance to receive aid that may be first-come, first-serve or from programs with limited funds.
  • Never paying to fill out the FAFSA® – Filing is free, period. There are also a variety of free resources to help families fill out the FAFSA® properly.
  • Do your homework before you file — Both students and parents should gather Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, bank statements, 2021 tax returns, and W-2 forms, and create an FSA ID. Having this information ready before you begin the application can help expedite the process.
  • Don’t assume you won’t qualify for aidNearly four in 10 families (36%) said they bypassed the FAFSA® because they believed their income was too high to be eligible. The reality is, just about every family will qualify for some form of aid.
  • Remember to file each year — FAFSA® applications should be completed every year in school. Be sure to save and file your FSA credentials and set a reminder for when it’s time to file again.
  • Check deadlines – Many states and colleges set priority deadlines to submit the FAFSA® to be considered for aid. You can check deadlines for each school here.

“While seven in 10 families reported completing the FAFSA last year, too often those who do not complete are first-generation college students and students from underserved communities who are most likely to be eligible for grants and other aid,” said Rick Castellano vice president, Sallie Mae. “We need to continue to raise awareness and offer resources to help these students and families complete the FAFSA. It's critical we also look for ways to further simplify and streamline the process so families can make more informed and confident decisions about paying for higher education.”

For more information on completing the FAFSA® visit www.salliemae.com/FAFSA and Nitro College.

Sallie Mae (Nasdaq: SLM) believes education and life-long learning, in all forms, help people achieve great things. As the leader in private student lending, we provide financing and know-how to support access to college and offer products and resources to help customers make new goals and experiences, beyond college, happen. 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.

Category: Financial Literacy
Category: Student Loans

Tacy Cresson
302.265.5616
Tacy.Cresson@SallieMae.com

Source: Sallie Mae

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