Financial aid tip of the month

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Time for college-bound seniors to fill out FAFSA.

High school seniors planning to attend college or technical school this fall should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA, as soon as possible.

The FAFSA is the form students complete to determine if they qualify for federal and state grants and to apply for federal student loans. Also, many colleges use information from the FAFSA to determine the distribution of grants and scholarships administered by the school. Students should submit the FAFSA even if they feel it is unlikely they will qualify for aid.

The FAFSA asks for information about income, assets and expenses. A formula established by Congress is used to determine eligibility for federal and state aid. If the student is considered a dependent under federal guidelines, both the student and the parents must provide financial information. Nearly all students going directly to college from high school are considered dependent.

College enrollment has grown in recent years, making it more important than ever to submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after Jan. 1. Some financial aid programs have limited money and provide funds on a first-come, first-serve basis to qualified students.

On Jan. 30, the Kentucky Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, in cooperation with the Lumina Foundation and the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, will sponsor 21 free training sessions throughout the state to assist parents and students who need help completing the FAFSA. At the College Goal Sunday events, financial aid professionals will go over the FAFSA in detail and answer questions. To find a College Goal Sunday site, visit www.kasfaa.com/cgs.

For faster results, KHEAA recommends that students submit the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov, although they may also be mailed to the FAFSA processor.

To find links to other useful education websites, visit www.gotocollege.ky.gov.

For more information about Kentucky scholarships and grants, visit www.kheaa.com; write KHEAA, P.O. Box 798, Frankfort, KY 40602-0798 or call (800) 928-8926 Ext. 6-7372.