Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

College Planning: Time to file for federal student aid

Posted December 26, 2011

Editor's Note: Christine M. Hall of CMH College Consulting will offer information today, Wednesday and Thursday about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the federal form used to determine what type and how much financial aid a student is eligible for. This form is required by all colleges, public and private, in determining financial aid awards. Families may begin filling out this form online Jan. 1.

While the FAFSA has a federal filing date of June 30, 2012, each state and school has a different deadline. In the state of North Carolina, that date is different with every school. Students must check with the financial aid administrator for the date of the school they are interested in.

In most cases, the state filing date is much earlier than the federal filing date – often mid-February and early March. In general, the earlier you apply, the better your chances are, if you qualify, as money is doled out on a first come, first served basis and does run out.

In order to complete the FAFSA, parents and students should go to Instructions for completing the form are available at this site. If you have filed your taxes, you have the option of connecting to the IRS to have your information filled out for you. You also have the option of estimating your taxes based on the previous year’s return, however, you will need to update that information as soon as possible. The FAFSA can be completed online during several sessions.

Dr. Christine M. Hall owns Cary-based CMH College Consulting. She'll offer more information about the form on Wednesday.


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  • christine8 Dec 27, 2011

    The FAFSA has gotten much easier to fill out. However, I realize the whole process is stressful. It's important to understand that the FAFSA does Not take into account grades. It is purely a formula based on income and the number of kids in college. A family that makes 100k a year can expect to contribute 20-25k a year to their child's college. There are a lot of factors that go into this though, so its in your best interest to fill this out and look into what a specific college has to offer.

  • shall6 Dec 27, 2011

    Brassy ... Christine shared this piece of advice on our Facebook page: FAFSA does have some issues with supporting browsers. I have had to use MSIE as opposed to Firefox.


  • snowl Dec 27, 2011

    My experience:
    The FAFSA helps students find the best government LOANS possible and IF the student has high SAT scores and maintains a very good grade point average all through HS and during college, filling out the FAFSA will help some individuals receive education grants that do not have to be paid back. They have to earn the grant, it is not handed out only because their parent is single or deceased. Everyone should fill it out. Stay away from private student loans. If a student really wants to go to college there is help out there. It takes work.

  • gingerlynn Dec 27, 2011

    Giant paperwork that is a giant waste of time. When my husband had a heart attack and was disabled and I was laid off, we had 2 in college and a third in high school. They were offered "unsubsidized loans" at 7% that started accruing immediately. The kids will have over 30k in loans when they graduate and who knows about the third. But they have lots of friends from single moms with various baby daddy's getting a full ride. Moral of the story - have your kids out of wedlock the government will take care of them.

  • brassy Dec 27, 2011

    FAFSA website refuses to support the current version of any web browser.