The Iowa College Student Aid Commission is reminding current and future college students to file and important form that could help them pay for college. The spokesperson for the Iowa College Student Aid Commission, Heather Doe, says it’s the Free Application for Federal Student Aid — more commonly called FAFSA.
“It’s a federal form that you do have to complete to determine eligibility for any type of federal aid program – that includes PELL Grants, it also includes student loans that you are going to borrow. And it’s used by the state of Iowa and many other states to determine eligibility for state grants and scholarships,” Doe says. She says it is important to get the form done as soon as possible.
Doe says a lot of colleges have a March first priority deadline for financial aid filing. “And we families to get out there and get that completed, even if they don’t have their taxes completed yet,” Doe says. You can use your tax information from last year to file the FAFSA, and then update the information once the information for this year is available. Any student who hopes to get financial aid has to fill out the form.
“One thing to make sure to point out to everyone is you have to complete a FAFSA every year,” according to Doe. “So, even if you already filed one last year and you are going back for your second or third year of college, you have to complete it again.”
Doe says it doesn’t take that long to complete the application. “The best way and most convenient way and fastest way is to file it on-line at www.fafsa.gov. And I do want to point out that dot-gov, because there are sites that look very similar to that with like a dot-com (address) and they’ll try to charge a fee,” she explains. “FAFSA is free to file, so if you are ever on a site where they want some credit card information — make sure to just get yourself out, because you are not in the right place.”
Iowa College Aid says Iowa high school graduates left approximately $22 million in federal grant money unclaimed in 2013 simply by not completing the FAFSA.