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The ins and outs of applying for need-based financial aid

September 28th, 2022

October 1st marks the beginning of a new financial aid cycle as the 2023-2024 FAFSA and CSS Profile go live. The volume of documents to complete during the college application process can be exhausting and now that financial aid forms are added, it might seem like a daunting task. We hope to simplify a few things to make this task more manageable.

FAFSA determines your eligibility for federal aid programs like the Pell Grant and federal student loans. All families applying for need-based financial aid must complete the FAFSA.

The CSS Profile is also required by a small subset of colleges as part of their financial aid process, to determine eligibility for grants and scholarships. The list of schools that require the CSS Profile can be found on the Collegeboard website.

Does the early bird get the worm? Some would argue that submitting these documents early, particularly for public universities, can maximize your potential to be considered for all available aid.

In the article referenced below from Grown and Flown, my IECA colleague Jeff Levy has identified 21 points every family should consider when completing financial aid applications. His advice is highly relevant for families considering applying for need-based aid.

Article linked below from Grown and Flown, published on August 29, 2022 written by Jeff Levy

FAFSA and CSS Profile: Tips, Resources, and Mistakes to Avoid

October 1, 2022, is the first-day families can access, complete, and submit the 2023-2024 FAFSA and CSS Profile. Anyone logging in sooner will find themselves completing forms for the wrong school year. But September is the month to consider the pros and cons of applying for need-based aid.

If you decide to go ahead, here is a useful tip sheet from Big J Educational Consulting. It includes the 21 most important things your family needs to know to manage the financial aid application process successfully.

Read more at Grown and Flown>>