Sharpen Your Pencils, FAFSA Is Online!
San Francisco, CA (CollegeToCareers.com) – As announced in many press releases last year, the online FAFSA application went live minutes ago. The newly designed website features everything prospective 2011/2012 students need to apply for the much sought-after financial aid, and makes the whole process a breeze.
The crystal ball hitting the ground at midnight in Times Square marked the beginning of the new financial aid season. For the next six months, thousands of families from across the United States will be competing for the Federal financial support packages. Even though paper application is still an option, we at CollegeToCareers highly advise you to use the online form because:
- It saves time. You should already know by now that the earlier the application is received, the sooner it is processed. Federal grants are awarded on a first come first served basis and, if you mail in your forms, you are going to waste a few valuable days. On the other hand, if you submit it electronically, you can have a head start against others who are going to mail it in.
- It’s safe and secure. U.S. post services sometimes lose envelopes. It’s not a habit, it only happens once in a blue moon, but it can happen. The risk is insignificant, you probably have better chances of being hit by a meteor on your way to the post office, but why take the chances?
- It points out omissions. The built in checks on the website will alert you on each required field you have left blank. When filing the application on paper, you face the risk of leaving valuable information aside.
It is hard to overstate the importance of filing your FAFSA application early. With the never-ending economic crisis, more and more universities have financial difficulties and are going to lower their scholarship budgets. Deadlines for other grants are going to come sooner than you would expect, since each university has its own bureaucratic procedures to deal with before announcing the awards.
Sharpen up your pencils, get fresh batteries for your calculator, fire up the Excel spreadsheets and start digging the tax returns. Don’t worry about inaccurate information on your taxes. Just because you haven’t filed your statements yet it doesn’t mean you can’t submit the FAFSA application. Use your best judgment to estimate 2010’s incomes and you may fine-tune the information once you get the final figures from your accountant.