FAFSA applications for the 2022-23 school year open soon – 4 things you can do now to prepare

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FAFSA applications for the 2022-23 school year will open on October 1, 2021. Find out what you can do to prepare now and compare your options for additional funding if your financial aid package falls short. (iStock)

The college planning process is an exciting time in a high school student’s life – but between visiting campuses, choosing a major, and completing higher level courses, it is necessary to take the time to ask. financial assistance.

While the 2022-2023 academic year seems to be in the distant future, now is the time to decide how to pay for college. Aspiring students can start filling out the Free Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application form for next year starting October 1.

Keep reading to find out how you can start preparing for the FAFSA now and what to expect after you apply. If you need additional student loans beyond what is offered after completing the FAFSA form, consider your options such as Federal Direct PLUS Loans and Private Student Loans.

Visit Credible to learn more about the different types of student loans and to compare private student loan rates without affecting your credit score.

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4 things to do now to prepare for the FAFSA

The US Department of Education provides more than $ 120 billion in financial assistance each year, including loans, grants, and federal work-study programs. To determine your eligibility for federal financial aid, you will need to submit your financial information using the FAFSA online form.

Most students complete the FAFSA in less than 30 minutes, according to the Federal Student Aid (FSA) website. Here are tips to prepare you for the FAFSA application, so you can make quick and smart decisions about paying for college education:

  1. Create an account on the FSA website. First-time FAFSA applicants will need to create an FSA account. Save your FSA ID or username and password in a safe place.
  2. Research your FAFSA deadlines. Each state and university has its own set of deadlines for which you must submit the FAFSA form. You can find the FAFSA deadlines on the FSA website and contact your school’s financial aid department to find theirs.
  3. Determine your addiction status. The FSA has different award limits for independent and dependent students. If your parents state that you are a dependent on their federal income tax return, you are a dependent student. You can see the other criteria for dependency status on the FSA website.
  4. Gather all your relevant documents. You will need your social security number (or foreigners registration number for non-citizens), income tax return information, statements of untaxed income and bank account balances, as well as a list of schools you want to attend. Student dependents will also need to collect income information from their parents.

The FSA website also offers detailed step-by-step instructions on what to expect during the application process and frequently asked questions by the FAFSA.

You can also visit Credible to learn more about paying for education, including information on private student loans. Compare the estimated student loan interest rates from actual private lenders in the table below.

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What to expect after completing the FAFSA application

A few days after completing the FAFSA, you will receive an email confirming that your application has been received. It may take up to two weeks for your FAFSA request to be processed, depending on the circumstances.

After your FAFSA application is fully processed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) with a summary of your financial aid. The schools you apply to will use this information to determine your federal and state aid, as well as scholarships, based on the cost of tuition. To learn more about each offer, contact the school’s financial aid office.

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Compare your options for additional student loans

It is common to need additional student assistance when federal grants and direct loans are insufficient. Many families are closing the funding gap with federal PLUS loans and private student loans. Here are some things you should know:

  • PLUS loans are for graduate students and parents of undergraduates only. Private student loans can be taken out by students, but they can have better terms if you use a co-signer as a parent.
  • Grad PLUS Loans and Parent PLUS Loans have the highest interest rate of all federal student loans at 6.28%.
  • The interest rates for private student loans vary depending on a number of factors including the amount and term of the loan as well as the creditworthiness of the borrower. Interest rates on private student loans are still hovering near historic lows, Credible data shows.
  • Private student loans do not qualify for federal protections such as administrative forbearance, and they cannot be discharged through student loan forgiveness programs.

If you decide that private loans are right for you, compare the rates of several lenders at once in Credible’s online student loan market.

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Have a finance-related question, but don’t know who to ask? Email the Credible Money Expert at [email protected] and your question could be answered by Credible in our Money Expert column.

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