This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

6 Steps to College Financial Aid Through a FAFSA Application

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Even as the price of college tuition rises significantly, Americans still believe the path to success in life is through the ivy-covered walls of U.S. colleges and universities.

According to Sallie Mae, 83% of U.S. families say a college degree is an "investment in the future." Another 69% say college is the "path to earning more money" in life.

But Sallie Mae also says 69% of American families eliminated the college of their choice because of the high cost, the highest percentage in five years.

One way to increase your odds of getting enough money to attend your school of choice is through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

"The FAFSA is the key to unlocking the financial aid that's so important to students and families," says Joe DePaulo, executive vice president of Sallie Mae.

The FAFSA application is used to calculate eligibility for federal collegiate financial aid, including grants and loans, and aid from states and colleges and universities -- a critical first step in Sallie Mae's "one-two-three" approach to properly researching all possible forms of college financial aid. (Go to for more detailed information on how FAFSA works.)

Jan. 1 is the kickoff date for completing the form, and Sallie Mae has a few tips for students and families to maximize the opportunity:

You'll need to fill out your FAFSA form to find out how much college financial aid you qualify for. To do that right, Sallie Mae advises three key steps:

Gather necessary information. Collect the documents with the information you'll need to complete the application, such as student and parent driver's licenses, the latest federal income tax returns, W-2 forms, bank statements, investment information and Social Security numbers.

Know your state's deadline. Deadlines vary by state, with the earliest being Feb. 15 in Connecticut, followed quickly by California, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland and Michigan in early March. State deadlines are available on the FAFSA website. In addition, check your school's deadlines and additional financial aid application requirements.

Don't let income tax filings slow you down. The FAFSA requires students and parents to use 2012 tax information, but don't panic -- families can use their 2011 taxes or another best estimate to get started. Once 2012 taxes have been filed, families can update the form.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $118.03 0.00%
FB $105.41 0.00%
GOOG $748.15 0.00%
TSLA $229.64 0.00%
YHOO $33.16 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,813.39 +1.20 0.01%
S&P 500 2,088.87 -0.27 -0.01%
NASDAQ 5,116.1430 +13.3350 0.26%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs