Current and potential college students can now apply for federal financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. Heather Doe of the Iowa College Student Aid Commission says you shouldn’t delay your application.

“We always recommend that students complete that as soon as possible after January first, so they are able to meet deadlines and get as much student aid as possible,” Doe says. All students interested in higher education need to apply.

Does says FAFSA has to be completed annually, so that includes current students and high school seniors who will be going to college for the first time next year. The federal aid is based on income, but Doe says that isn’t the only reason to file.

“We always recommend that families file, even if they think that they’re not going to be eligible for need-based aid, because in addition to federal aid, the state of Iowa uses FAFSA information for much of our state financial aid, and many colleges use information from the FAFSA to be considered for their institutional aid,” Doe explains.

You also need to file FAFSA to be eligible for any federal student loans. Doe says you need some basic financial information to file FAFSA.

Doe says there are a lot of free resources for families with questions, including contacting her office at 877-272-4456, or any college financial aid office.

Go to the Iowa College Aid website, to find out how to file your FAFSA.