Student aid: Now is the time to file


Beginning Oct. 1, families sending a student to college will be able to complete the free application for federal student aid, otherwise known as FAFSA.

Financial expert Megan Gorman says it’s important to fill out the FAFSA early. 

“There’s $150 billion out there of federal aid, and this aid comes in loans, grants and even work study programs, but here’s the thing you have to remember: it’s a first come, first serve basis,” Gorman says. 

More families are expected to apply this year due to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis. 

“People’s income that is going to be reported for FAFSA purposes is their 2019 tax return, but that doesn’t mean you can’t report to the federal government that you’ve had a change of economic circumstances,” Gorman says. 

Families facing financial hardship can take extra steps to request a “professional judgment” review, submitting information like layoff notices or unemployment checks. 

College financial aid offices then have the discretion to make adjustments to the FAFSA so students can qualify for more aid.