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FAFSA Error Affects Thousands of Students’ Financial Aid

If your financial aid package for the upcoming school year seems off, you may want to have it checked. An error on the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA, made some applicants appear far better off financially than they actually are.

financial aid

The error on the online form causes some low-income filers appear to be millionaires, which can have a dramatic impact on what, if any, federal financial aid they can receive.

Jeff Baker, policy liaison at the Education Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid told student-aid administrators at the Chronicle of Higher Education that the error has already impacted thousands of borrowers, and is likely to impact even more.

“It’s a serious problem,” Baker said at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ annual meeting. “We have to fix it.”

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The U.S. Department of Education Should Think Before It Tweets

This week the U.S. Department of Education gave us an excellent example of what NOT to tweet out to the many college students who will be hoping for student aid this school year. It also showed it’s about as good at social media as the average “cool” parent.

bad tweet (600x360)

In what can only be described as an attempt to be hip gone awry, Federal Student Aid, @FAFSA, tweeted to its followers a still from the movie “Bridesmaids” accompanied with the quote, “Help me. I’m poor.” While a funny quote that I’ve often used myself when feeling particularly broke, it’s probably not appropriate when coming from the Education Department. Especially when sent out with the caption, “If this is you, then you better fill out your FAFSA: fafsa.gov.”

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Federal Minimum Wage Increase is Good News for Students

If President Obama‘s plan to raise minimum wage goes through, plenty of people will benefit. One group in particular may see a direct benefit, but they probably aren’t the first group of people thought of during minimum wage discussions.

work study

College students who are part of the Federal Work-Study Program, which helps them pay for their education, would be directly impacted by an increase in minimum wage. The program itself could also see some changes as award packages would have to be altered to allow for what essentially amounts to multiple students receiving raises at once.

Students participating in a Work-Study program are required to be paid at least federal minimum wage. Currently, that means making at least $7.25 per hour. If the raise in minimum wage goes through, their pay would increase to at least $10.10 an hour. Some Work-Study participants already make more than that depending on their individual circumstances.

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It’s Almost Time to Submit Your FAFSA for the 2012-2013 School Year

fafsaIf you are one of the many college students who needs help paying for college, there’s an important date in your near future: March 1, 2012. Why is this date important? Well, if you want to receive government funds to help pay for you education, you need to have filled out and submitted the FAFSA by this date in order to qualify for the 2012-2013 school year.

What is the FAFSA? FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid and is a federal scholarship for students. Many students qualify for this need-based aid, but you must reapply for it each year in order to receive the money.

In the past, the FAFSA had a reputation for being overtly difficult to complete. Recently, the FAFSA received a makeover, which makes it easier to understand and complete; however, some people still have trouble with it the first time they fill it out.

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High School Senior College Checklist

As an upcoming high school senior, you may be thinking ahead to college. There are a lot of different things to do and dates to have on your calendar. For those that plan to continue their education beyond high school, several things must be done so that you are properly prepared for your freshman year of college. Making a list and prioritizing it by deadline is a helpful way to make sure that everything is taken care of in plenty of time so that you can have things lined up and enjoy your last year of high school. A little bit of planning now will ensure that you have nothing to worry about later. Below are a few things to keep in mind so that no deadlines are missed.

FAFSA: The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, for the academic year of 2012-2013 is not currently available, but it will be on January 1, 2012. You only need to file once for each academic year and filing early is always best. The deadline for the 2012-2013 academic year will be June 30, 2013. Receiving free money like government grants can truly depend on how early you file, so keep that January 1 date in mind.  Once those government grants are gone, the only options available for federally funding your education would be student loans or work study programs. When filling out the FAFSA, you will need your parents’ tax and income information for 2011 and you can choose what schools you want your award information sent to. You can pick several schools to receive this information, which is helpful if you haven’t picked your college when you start filling out your FAFSA.

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FAFSA Updates to Streamline User Experience

It’s FAFSA season again! Time to get those applications completed and submit them for review. Every student requesting Federal financial aid must fill out a new FAFSA (free application for federal student aid) for every school year, and the earlier the better. While the task may seem daunting, the FAFSA application has been streamlined for your convenience and is easier than ever to complete.

Changes have been made this year to both the online and paper applications. Here is an overview of some of the changes:

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2011-2012 FAFSA Now Available

fafsa formsWhen preparing to go to college, one thing can help you more than anything else – get started early. If you think you might want to go to college or are sure of it, you should get the process started as soon as you can. One thing that many students will fill out in preparation for college is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or the FAFSA.

Filling out the FAFSA will help give you access to government funds to pay for your education. The information you provide will determine what type of funds you are eligible for and whether you qualify for grants, which do not have to be paid back. Students seeking access to these government funds must fill out a FAFSA for each school year.

Now the FAFSA for the 2011-2012 school year is available for students to complete online. The sooner you fill out your online FAFSA and get it filed, the sooner you will know what funds you can receive to help fund your education. Read the rest of this entry »



FAFSA Must-Haves for Applying for Student Loans

Most students cringe when it comes time to fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known by its dreaded acronym, FAFSA. Some students even avoid the whole situation by simply not applying for FAFSA and just hope to have enough money saved up by the time tuition is due, while others assume that they or their parents make too much money to qualify.fafsa

No matter what your situation is, it is always in your best interest to apply for FAFSA, especially if you’re having trouble making those tuition payments.

The financial aid application isn’t the easiest thing to complete, but students miss out on thousands of dollars in grants and low-interest student loans just because they didn’t have the necessary items to fill out the form. Sorry guys, but you’re in college now. If you want to make your tuition manageable, suck it up and gather every thing you need to complete the form.

Here are 5 things you will need to complete the FAFSA: Read the rest of this entry »



Study Answers Who Are Today’s First-Year College Students

college campusThe Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA attempted to answer the question – Who are today’s first-year college students?

The institute surveyed  220,000 first-year students who graduated from high school in 2009 and now attend 1,555 four-year colleges.

According to StudentAid.com, here are 20 interesting factoids that cast a glimpse into the average American college student’s academic experience.

 1.   Percentage accepted by their No. 1 college: 79 percent.
 2.   Percentage attending their No. 1 choice: 61 percent.
 3.   Percentage who applied to four or fewer colleges: 67 percent.

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Getting Ready for the 2010 FAFSA

fafsa logoAnother spring semester is about to start. We are half-way through the school year, which means we are half-way to summer break. It also means that it is almost time to start filling out those FAFSA forms for next year.

What is the FAFSA? The FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

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