Paying for College: FAFSA Federal Application for Student Aid and a list of resources

by Jill Bender on January 2, 2014

Paying for collegeAs I mentioned in the first post about paying for college, for those of us with kids headed to college in 2014 we are hitting (and possibly missing) important deadlines.

Most of the early application deadlines for schools have passed and now we’ve got to focus on the financial aid part. We are also hitting those scholarship application deadlines so don’t let your kid (because I hope you’re making them responsible for this process and their future) delay filling those applications out.

If I can give you one piece of advice right now, it is to get your taxes done as soon as possible because the FAFSA application is now open. Jan 1, 2014 – Jun 30, 2014.

FAFSA (Free Application For Student Aid) is the application for federal aid like Pell grants, loans, and work study programs.

It is FREE to fill out the FAFSA. There are sites out there that lead you to believe that it is the FAFSA, but they’ll charge you. The link I am providing in this post is the correct link.

The reason I say you need to get your taxes done ASAP is because federal student aid is based on the parents’ income and FAFSA funds are first come first serve. There is a bucket of money and once that bucket of money is empty for the year, it’s empty. So, please help yourself and your child a little by getting the FAFSA filed as soon as you possibly can.

If you’re not quite ready to file yet, but you’re interested to know what your child might be eligible for you can check out the FAFSA forecaster. It’s not exact, but it might give you a good idea. Just don’t let the results dissuade your from filling out the actual application.

In case you needed a reason to get your taxes done early, let this be it.

Here are a few other resources you (your child) should be actively pursuing NOW:

  • State grants
  • The college of choice sometimes lists scholarships that it has available so check the financial aid area
  • Colorado: College in Colorado is an amazing resource for Colorado students and parents and it has a whole finding scholarships area.
  • Colorado:  The Colorado Opportunity Fund (COF) is the in-state stipend for Colorado residents – $64/credit hour at a public college or $32/credit hour at a private college. Depending on in-state qualification and the school your child will attend, he/she is eligible for You only have to apply once, and your child may have already done this, but if they haven’t have them do it RIGHT NOW.
  • If you’re not in Colorado, have your child find out the in-state tuition fund for your state and apply now.
  • Scholarship search
  • Fastweb is also has a scholarship search tool.
  • Find out if the company you work for offers scholarships.
  • Ask your insurance agent if they offer scholarships.
  • Bank at a credit union? Ask your credit union.
  • Also search the websites of local companies that specialize in the area of education that your child is looking to enter.
  • A lot of big name companies also offer scholarships so go to the website of your favorite brands and search for scholarship information.
  • And finally, Google the hell out of scholarships and every search term that fits your child and the area they’re looking to study.

There are scholarships available for everrrrrrrrrything.  The scholarships are out there for the taking so please encourage your child to get on it now because just like with the FAFSA bucket of money, the scholarship money is the same… the early bird gets the scholarship.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kimberly January 3, 2014 at

Thanks for gathering all of this great information in one spot for me :) Bookmarked! And now I’m waiting (impatiently) on my W2s.

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2 Jill Bender January 6, 2014 at

Me too!

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