Summer months offer high school juniors and their families time to get a head start on financial aid. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the FAFSA, is the key for receiving financial assistance to fund a college education. The form does take time and focus to complete, so use the relaxed pace of summer to get a head start. Here are key tips to keep in mind:
Three kinds of federal loans are available:
Subsidized Stafford Loans are available to students who demonstrate financial need based on income and other information provided via the FAFSA. Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are available to all students regardless of financial need.
Low-interest PLUS Loans can be obtained by parents to help pay the cost of a college education for their children.
Consolidation loans are available to students and parents to combine several loans into one with one monthly payment
As you go through the process, you may be asked by schools to which you sent your application for additional information or to verify what you provided. Respond to those requests as quickly as possible so as not to delay a decision regarding the financial aid package.
The FAFSA website hosts complete information about the application process as well as the FAFSA 4caster tool for those in the early stages.