The day-to-day costs rung up by a typical college student don’t end at tuition. Regardless of how hefty your financial aid package is, you still have the “hidden costs” of college life to cover.
If you grew up in Ohio, you might think your neighbor to the west — Indiana — is pretty much the same as your home state. Both states are midwestern, featuring rural landscapes punctuated by a handful of smaller industrial cities and anchored by larger metropolitan areas.
Everybody could use more money for college, especially when it comes as a scholarship—the kind of aid you never need to repay.
Scholarships come in all shapes, sizes, and amounts. Groups ranging from charitable foundations to corporations to trade associations and more offer money for college.
It’s summer 2017, college is starting in the fall, and you’re still not sure how you’re going to pay for it.
With the cost of college creeping up year after year, you’re not alone. Millions of students across the country are hoping to reduce their reliance on federal and private loans (and the debt that comes with them) and find alternative funding sources for their educations.
Here are a few tips for firming up your financial footing before embarking on your college career.
Ah, the FAFSA—that time-honored tradition of getting a crash course in your parents’ tax
information from two years ago. (But hey, it helps you keep college affordable, so it’s worth
poring over the details of IRS deductions and withholdings.)
We’ve written a lot about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), including filing tips for parents, six things you’ll need to finish the FAFSA, and a first-timer’s guide to filling it out.
However, in 2017, the Department of Education is making a few changes to how the FAFSA works that are important to note, especially for first-time filers.
You can now submit earlier
In the past, you had to wait until January 1 to file your FAFSA, but that’s no longer the case. If you’re filing for the 2017–18 school year, you can file now—submissions opened on October 1.
The new, earlier submission date is permanent, so you’ll be able to file your FAFSA beginning October 1 from here on out.
You will now be asked for income information from earlier years
If you filed your FAFSA for the 2016–17 school year, you would have been asked for income information from 2015 only. That’s changed, however. The new FAFSA will ask for income information for two previous years.
So, if you’re filing for 2017–18, you’ll need to provide income and tax information for 2016 and 2015.
If you’re filling out the FAFSA for the first time, be sure to download our FAFSA Checklist so you can be better prepared for what to expect.