Personal Finance

Do You Need to File Your FAFSA Immediately? | Smart Change: Personal Finance

If you’re thinking about filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), check with any college for the best time to file and get tips on how to boost aid qualification.

In this segment of “Financial Planning Q&A” on Motley Fool Live, recorded on Dec. 1, retirement expert Robert Brokamp provides helpful insight on when to file for financial aid.

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Robert Brokamp: Then Mohana asked, “My daughter is a first-year at college, should I submit the FAFSA for her second year right away or should I wait when college allows it to be submitted for next year?”

I would say that I don’t have a definitive answer for you. I would contact the college. When it comes to financial aid issues, for me, it’s always important to contact the college directly and see what their situation is. They’re often very helpful and they’ll give you tips about what you should do to maximize your aid eligibility.

I will say a couple of things though when you submit your FAFSA, the income is based on two years prior, but your assets are based on as of when you file, so that could be a consideration. It certainly makes sense to do it as soon as possible when the college opens the door.

I’m going to guess that your college is going to say, “There’s no reason to do it now because we’re not going to look at it.” I think it’s October 1st when they open it. Check on that directly in most colleges.

But it definitely, once they open that door, it does make sense to do it as soon as possible because much of the aid is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Filing sooner definitely makes sense as long as you’re not filing so soon that they’re not going to even bother looking at it.

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