Prospective college students can get an early start on the financial aid process. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is now available for those planning to attend college next fall. That’s according to Ancilla College Vice President of Enrollment Management Eric Wignall. “Last year and all prior years, you had to wait until the beginning of the year,” he explained. “January 1, the federal government would open up the FAFSA form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Now, they’ve opened it up October 1, so it’s available now, if you go to FAFSA.gov.”
He adds that students who fill out the form by March 10 may be eligible to get state financial aid, as well as federal aid. “That’s a huge amount of money that’s available to people who live in Indiana,” Wignall says. “It’s part of your tax dollars. It’s part of the reason that they put this all together is to help people pay for school, and if you miss March 10, you totally miss out.”
Not only is the FAFSA available earlier, but Wignall says it will also be a bit easier to fill out. “This year, because they’ve changed the system, it uses last year’s financial data,” he explains. “You don’t have to guess. You don’t have to do any crazy stuff that they used to make you do before you filed the FAFSA. Remember, this is a government program, and so the March 10 deadline in Indiana has nothing to do with April 14 or 15. It’s just bizarre that they did it this way for years, and they finally fixed the problem.”
He says Ancilla and other schools then use that information to match qualified students with scholarship opportunities, “If you’ve got a decent GPA, if you’ve done well on the SAT or the ACT, you’ll get scholarships from schools, including us. Ancilla’s in the business of trying to get smart students to come to Ancilla to get a degree.”
Wignall says the FAFSA takes about 30 minutes to fill out. For those who’d like a little extra help, Ancilla will be hosting a financial aid workshop on Monday, October 24 from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. EDT on the Donaldson campus.