COLORADO SPRINGS — If you plan on attending college next summer or in the fall, it's time to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA.
The application usually opens in October but the government delayed the opening date to this Sunday, Dec. 31. This comes after quite a few changes were made to the application process, causing the two-month delay.
To apply, visit studentaid.gov.
Those filling out the application must create a user ID and password. This includes parents.
It's important to fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible because scholarships, grants, and work-study loans are offered on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Something new this year is the expansion of who is eligible for Pell Grant Dollars, which is money that does not have to be paid back to the government.
Now, 610,000 additional students from low-income backgrounds will qualify for a Pell Grant. Independent and dependent students below the poverty threshold may automatically qualify for the maximum Pell Grant. Also, access to Pell Grants is now open to confined or incarcerated students. It's also open to students who were defrauded by a school or who attended a school that is now closed.
The application allows you to list up to 20 schools you're applying to.
These changes were put in place to make it easier and shorten the time for students or parents to apply. Filling out the application should take about 10 minutes with the new changes brought by the FAFSA Simplification Act.
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