How to file for free college money

- There are a whole lot of high school seniors sending out college applications right about now. And the looming question often is: How do we pay for this? There is free money out there that too many people fail to apply for.

And when you say free money, it's just that - free cash for college. And here's what students and parents are neglecting to apply for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.  

The Department of Education finds that 45 percent of students don't file for this. And here are two big reasons: They think they don't qualify. And, they didn't know about it. Well, today you're going to learn about it.

FAFSA helps college and graduate students pair up with federal grants and scholarships. No matter how much money you have or your parents have, please file. Filling out the info isn't hard, but you will have to do a little homework beforehand, and it may take more than one sitting.

Here's what you'll need to have to get started. I've made a list for you.

Know your social security number. If you're not a US citizen, your alien registration number needs to be handy as well as federal income tax returns, W2s, and any other records that show earned money. You'll also need bank statements handy, as well as records of investments.

But the first thing you'll need to do is get a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID which you can get right here: FSA ID.

It's not particularly hard, but it's a government website. It's bulky, not completely intuitive, and you will need to start and stop and start again. But for goodness sake's just get started.

Lastly, the federal deadline is June 30. 2019 for the 2019-2020 school year.  But, the school you are applying to may have an earlier deadline. So, get to it now. And, listen, enrollment opened October 1st. And the money is first-come, first-served, so over the holiday break, do it.

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