Students and parents can now fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for next academic year.
The form is required to receive federal money for higher education, as well as the state’s Promise Scholarship and Higher Education Grant.
The 2018‒19 FAFSA launched Sunday at fafsa.gov, according to a U.S. Education Department news release.
If you plan to attend college anytime from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019, you can now submit the form to receive money for that period. The department, citing FAFSA submission deadlines to receive aid from individual states and schools, says to “maximize your potential aid, you should submit a FAFSA form as early as possible.”
The department says “many states and colleges use your FAFSA information to determine your eligibility for state aid and school aid, and some private financial aid providers may use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for their aid.”
“A lot of [colleges] will send out financial award letters as early as November,” said Brian Weingart, senior director of financial aid for the state institutions that oversee two- and four-year colleges. “So that’s why they’re being encouraged to fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible.”
Weingart said March 1 is the deadline for submitting both the FAFSA and the required separate Promise Scholarship forms for those students trying to receive that scholarship for the first time. He said the deadline for FAFSA submission to receive the state Higher Education Grant is April 15, and students can contact colleges to learn about submission deadlines for their individual scholarships.
He said students must submit the FAFSA again for each academic year they want to have federal aid and the Higher Education Grant, though this isn’t required for Promise.
“We encourage students to fill it out every year because it’s not just for scholarships and grants, it might be for work study, it might be for student loans,” he said.
The FAFSA form for the current academic year is still available for submission for those students who want to receive money to attend college this spring or summer.
“Each year, more than 20 million FAFSAs are submitted, resulting in more than $120 billion in federal grants, loans and work-study funds to help pay for college or career school,” the U.S. Education Department release said.
The release said students who plan to submit the FAFSA online should go to StudentAid.gov/fsaid as soon as possible to create an FSA ID.
“If a student is considered dependent for FAFSA purposes, one of the student’s parents also needs to create an FSA ID in order to sign the FAFSA online,” the release said. “Each person must create his or her own FSA ID to avoid issues and delays with the financial aid process.
“Once the FAFSA is processed, the school will use the FAFSA information to calculate the amounts and types of financial aid the student may qualify for, and the school will send the student a financial aid offer. Financial aid offers come from schools, not the U.S. Department of Education, and each school has its own schedule for awarding financial aid.”
You can call the state’s student financial aid division at 304-558-4618 for help, get more information on filling out the FAFSA online at studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa and you can apply for Promise at cfwv.com.