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Applications for financial aid are now available for the upcoming academic year. There is no deadline to apply for free federal student aid for 2023-2024 until June 30, 2024, but we encourage you to apply as soon as possible.

Financial assistance is key to making college affordable for a growing number of families.

Amid rising tuition, most college students lack the resources to pay for school, including income and savings, free money from scholarships and grants, and of course student loans, according to the institution’s Sally Mae. It should depend on the combination.

That’s where FAFSA comes in.

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“We want to maximize that free money first,” said Rick Castellano, a spokesperson for Sallie Mae. “before borrowing”

However, students must first complete the FAFSA in order to receive assistance. Her FAFSA application season for the 2023-24 school year begins on his October 1st, and the sooner students apply, the better.

The sooner families fill out the FAFSA, the more likely they are to receive help.Some financial help comes on a first-come, first-served basis or from programs with limited funding, Castellano said. It’s for

A new report from Discover Student Loans found that 58% of parents with college-bound students who had no plans to apply for federal aid changed their minds.

“Given the current economic uncertainty around inflation and fears of a recession, some families are struggling to pay college and federal fees,” said Rich Finn, vice president of Discover Student Loans. I can understand you feeling the impact of reconsidering your application for aid.

Scholarships are the key to college affordability

“FAFSA is the most important thing you can do to qualify for scholarships and grants,” says Castellano. “At the end of the day, it’s free money that doesn’t have to be returned, and should help make college affordable.”

Scholarships are an important source of funding, but only 60% of families take advantage of them, according to educational institutions.

Nearly all families are eligible for some form of college aid.

Rick Castellano

Sally Mae spokesperson

About 6 out of 10 scholarship recipients received the scholarship directly from the student’s school. These students, on average, he received $6,335.

Most of the families who did not take advantage of the scholarship said it was because they had never applied.

Why More Families Are Not Filling out the FAFSA

According to Sallie Mae, 70% of families completed FAFSA last year, up slightly from 68% the year before. This was a record low. Discover estimates she’s 72% likely to apply this year.

“My hope will always be that more families complete FAFSA,” Castellano said.

The most common reason people don’t apply is because they thought they were earning too much to qualify for help, followed by feeling that the application was too complicated or they simply didn’t know, Sallie Mae found. did.

In fact, “almost every family is eligible for some form of college grant,” says Castellano.

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There are many factors that determine the amount of aid a student receives, not just income, such as total household size, number of children attending college, and other financial commitments such as home equity loans and child support.

The application process itself is another hurdle, the family said.

However, experts say the FAFSA form can be completed in under an hour online at or in the myStudentAid app. Especially if you have documents like a W-2 or last year’s tax returns on hand. Sallie Mae also has a free online FAFSA tool to help families navigate the process.

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