Time running out for students to complete financial aid

File Photo
File Photo

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTHI) – The clock is ticking for Hoosier students who are looking to reduce next year’s college costs.

The deadline for students in Indiana to complete the federal financial aid form many colleges use to determine how much a student will pay for college – known as FAFSA – is March 10.
Parents and students heading to college next year need to start working on their financial aid forms now.

“Parents who complete the FASFA correctly can save themselves and their children the burden of significant debt,” said Tom Faulconer, financial coach and father of a college student himself.
Because FAFSA is the key to college aid packages, it is better to file the FAFSA form early. While Faulconer says, “Schools tend to be more generous with their financial aid awards earlier in the process, rather than later,” he said filling it out even later rather than never is still a very worthwhile effort.

Financial aid can significantly reduce college cost – and the burden of college debt – for Hoosier parents and their children. Many stories about the alarming cost of college do not include financial aid. In fact, very few people pay the “sticker price” for college tuition,” Faulconer said.

For those parents of low-income families, there also is a special rule that may allow for 100-percent aid, including room and board. Additionally, parents with multiple children, in many cases, can qualify for aid easier than parents with only one child.

Faulconer who works with families to complete the FASFA and take a strategic approach to reducing college cost upfront, says “Many people may be leaving financial-aid money on the table by filling out the FAFSA form incorrectly.” For example, family business equity – such as family farms and other family-owned business resources – are exempt from consideration as parental assets.

There is no penalty if you complete the FAFSA and don’t get any aid. But not filling out the form can significantly increase college costs. “In 2012, the cost of tuition at Notre Dame was $55,000 – but 74 percent of freshman attending that year received aid, and the average cost for those freshman was only $16,241,” explains Faulconer.

Hoosier college-bound students have a good chance for receiving financial aid, since Indiana’s home-ownership rate is higher than the national average, and household income is reasonable. Both of these factors are important for financial aid eligibility.

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