The FAFSA—the Free Application for Federal Student Aid—opens every year on October 1st. The form grants students access to federal student aid in the forms of scholarships, grants, work study opportunities, and federal student loans. You’ve probably heard that you should file the FAFSA as soon as you can, but what’s the rush?
The FAFSA is First Come, First Served
Sadly, funding for college is not unlimited. Both the federal government and individual schools have a budget to work with, and not every student can be covered fully. That’s why it pays to submit your FAFSA as soon as you can, to qualify before the funding well runs dry.
How to File the FAFSA Faster
Time and effort are both precious commodities, and in a race against the financial clock, there are a number of ways to speed up the filing process. Prior Prior year is one way to save time—it allows you to file tax returns from the previous year, so you don’t have to wait for the current one. So if you’re filing for the 2019-2020 school year, you can use tax returns from 2017.
Additionally, you can use the IRS Data Retrieval tool can be used to automatically fill in your tax return data into your FAFSA form, making a tedious task much easier (and quicker).