Students should file FAFSA as early as possible

By Dakota Knotts, Contributing Writer
It is that time of year again! The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) became available to students for the 2019-2020 school year on Oct. 1, 2018.

The FAFSA is important to students as it used to apply for federal student aid, which includes work-study, federal grants, student loans and scholarship availability. As such, putting off filing your FAFSA could cost you much-needed financial aid.  
According to the web article, File FAFSA Early to Minimize Borrowing by Ashley Norwood, “Institutional aid is typically awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The same goes for state grants.  You likely will not be considered for grant aid at all that year if you miss a state filing deadline, so be sure to check the FAFSA site for your state filing deadline.”
The article, Why You Should Fill Out the FAFSA ASAP, states, “A lot of colleges and state higher education agencies look at your FAFSA to determine what financial aid they can offer you from their own funds.”
Renewing your FAFSA is an easy task that takes little to no time out of your day and by choosing to do it early students can remove unneeded stress while focusing their energy on coursework.
FAFSA is efficient and allows users to have the website pre-fill information from a previous year. All you have to do is update information for the new school year and then you are done until next year.
However, if you choose to start fresh, then you have the freedom to do so. 
Here is what you will need according to the FAFSA website: Social Security, Alien Registration Number if you are not a US Citizen, your federal income tax returns, W-2s, other records of money earned (bank statements and records of investments, records of untaxed income) and a FAFSA ID to sign electronically. 
If you are a dependent student, then you will also need a parent or guardian to provide most of the above information as well.
The Financial Aid Office is also available for students and more than willing to help students as much as possible and encourages students to file their FAFSA early, as the sooner they have that information, the more efficiently they can help.  
For more information contact, Katie Cooper, director of financial aid, at [email protected] 
Photo Credit: Dakota Knotts