Financial aid is an important part to anyone’s college career. I know that if I didn’t have any one section of my financial aid it would be a lot harder for me to survive in college. All of the pieces of aid seem to lie seamlessly together in order to help me afford my collegiate career. The FAFSA may not be due until June 30th, but it is in your best interest to get all your information in much earlier than this.

Turning in your FAFSA on time and even way earlier ensures you certain financial aid. The FAFSA doesn’t close until the end of June, but it opens in January for a reason. If you are in the early boat you get better access to all sorts of aid from grants to loans—you are more likely to get the best aid.

This funny video by eduLaunchpad called Hitler and the FAFSA explains the financial aid debate the best. It is important that you get your financial aid done early because different schools require you to get your aid done at certain times. Some schools require all your financial aid documents to be in earlier than others, so get everything done before all the deadlines hit you. You can stagger completing your financial aid profiles, but you definitely need to finish the FAFSA.

When you finally choose a school and are filling out your FAFSA during college, you need to follow the same pattern of completing your FAFSA and Financial Aid profile well in advance of when it is due for your school. You never want to be stuck with the leftovers financial aid-wise, especially since the money you receive is the money that will pay for some, if not all, of your schooling.

The key to not being left behind in the battle of financial aid is turn in your documents early and be aware of any financial aid deadlines whether they be from the FAFSA, a State-based aid, or a scholarship you are applying for. Being early is the key to ensuring that funds don’t run out before they get to your application. Remember: funds are finite!

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Amanda Cross is a Junior at the University of Central Arkansas where she studies Sociology with a minor in Public Relations. Amanda is the Housing Chair for the Alpha Omicron chapter of Sigma Sigma Sigma and a UCA Ambassador on her campus. When Amanda is not at school you can usually find her blogging, reading, hanging out with friends/family, or sleeping. Amanda writes her own blog titled College is Love, and she also writes for UChic and The Smart Girls Group Loop.

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