Paying for College the Smart Way, Experts Share FAFSA Tips
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - (BUSINESS WIRE) - The clock starts ticking January 1st when more than 17 million college students can apply for financial aid available for the next academic year. Families often find applying for aid stressful and time-consuming. To help them, Student Financial Aid Services, Inc., the nation's largest financial aid advisory service, offers How to Pay for College the Smart Way, a guide that explains students' options for applying for financial aid and tips for maximizing an aid award.
Access to most of the $236 billion in financial aid requires preparing a federal financial aid application (FAFSA), which asks more than 130 asset, income and dependency questions. Students have two options - either get professional FAFSA assistance from a fee-based service, just like using a professional tax preparation service, or tackle it alone on the U.S. Department of Education's website at no cost.
Financial aid, available to nearly all students regardless of income, can significantly reduce students' out-of-pocket college costs. In the 2011-12 academic year, undergraduate students on average received $13,218 in aid, including free grants; low-cost, federal education loans; and work-study opportunities. Students, who receive education support from military aid programs, also may increase their aid award by submitting a FAFSA.
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