FAFSA Series: Submitting the FAFSA Before You Have a Finalized College List…Should You Do It?

At this time of year, most students have a pretty good idea of where they would like to apply for college.

And if you are thinking about applying for a college, it is in your best interest to consider applying for financial aid there as well.

Whether you’re a first-year student or looking to transfer, you should plan to apply on time for financial aid, and the process starts as early as October.

If you are still putting together that final college list, it’s a good idea to rank your colleges and create a financial aid timeline. Then, when it comes time to submit the FAFSA, don’t be afraid to submit it to all of the potential colleges on your list.

You might ask: Even if I haven’t completed and submitted all of the applications yet?

Yes. Many financial aid forms, from the FAFSA, to institutional forms, to tax documents, are cost-free to submit. It should be an easy decision then to submit the requirements to all of your potential colleges, rather than waiting just to find out you’re too late.

The FAFSA can be submitted to up to 10 colleges at one time. You may choose to submit the FAFSA first to either the top 10 colleges on your list, or the 10 colleges with the earliest deadlines. I’ll be covering more about this in a later post.

Keep in mind that submitting a FAFSA does not guarantee you will receive acceptance to that college; in fact, most colleges wait until after acceptances have been released before they consider financial aid awards. However, it does guarantee that your FAFSA information will be available for the college to review when you do receive your acceptance.

Often, a large part of deciding to attend one college over another has to do with finances. You can commit to submitting financial aid paperwork to your colleges without having to commit to enroll, so you should plan to submit your FAFSA even if you don’t have your final college list.

Until Next Time,

Hope Santos, PES Financial Aid Consultant

P.S. The financial aid process can be confusing and mistakes can be costly. If you’re looking for help with the FAFSA or just don’t want to do it, we are happy to help! Having us help with the FAFSA is kinda like hiring a CPA to do your taxes, sure you can do it on your own, but do you really want to? If you’d like us to help simply click here to get started!

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