October is just around the corner. In addition to pumpkin spice lattes, that means it’s time to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which officially opens on October 1 for the 2021-22 school year.
Although it’s hard enough to plan for next week—let alone next year—in the era of covid, filling out the FAFSA early is important to make sure you don’t miss out on potential aid opportunities. Schools use the FAFSA to determine how much you and your family can afford to pay, as well as to award aid such as grants, work-study placements, and loan options. Some colleges and universities award aid on a rolling basis, which means students who apply early have the best shot at that holy grail: free money.
Here’s what you’ll need to apply:
High school seniors who haven’t been accepted to any schools yet should also get cracking on the form. Don’t count yourself out if your family is well-off, either. You may get more assistance than you expect, but you have to apply to qualify.