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Your REEL Guide to the FAFSA from Sallie Mae

The FAFSA is a crucial process for future and current students to help cover the costs for college education. Get the latest information on the FAFSA from today’s guest writer, Temeka Easter, Director of Social Media at Sallie Mae. Disclosure: Please note that College Prep Ready was compensated by Sallie Mae for the content in this post.

Lights, Camera, FAFSA!

Your REEL Guide to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid

If college is in your future, filing the FAFSA is the most important thing you can do to get money to help pay for it. It’s the gateway to all forms of federal financial aid, including grants, loans, and work-study programs.

These tips can help you star in your own award-winning FAFSA production.

1. FAFSA and Furious: Race to file your FAFSA as soon as possible from January 1 on, so you don’t miss out on first-come, first-served aid. Deadlines vary by state. And don’t forget to complete a FAFSA every year you’re in college.

2. He’s Just Not That into FAFSA: Thinking about bypassing the FAFSA because your family’s income and savings are too high? Think again. Nearly every student is eligible for some form of financial assistance, regardless of income.

3. The FAFSA Games: The odds of completing the FAFSA will be ever in your favor if you gather all necessary information first. That includes your Social Security and driver’s license numbers, your parents’ Social Security numbers and birth dates, 2015 income tax returns (or estimates), W-2 forms, and bank statements.

4. You’ve got FAFSA: Include an email address with your FAFSA application, and you’ll receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) within three to five days. The SAR will explain your eligibility for financial aid and your next steps.

5. FAFSA Fiction: Watch out for scams; just because a site says FAFSA, doesn’t mean it is FAFSA. Create your Federal Student Aid ID and submit the FAFSA for free at

Coming attractions: This is the last year you’ll have to wait until January to file your FAFSA. For the 2017-2018 academic year, you’ll be able to submit your FAFSA as early as October 1, 2016 and use your 2015 tax return. So hang on to all that information you collect now.

For more five-star FAFSA information and tips, visit

If you know students or families preparing for college who need scholarships, share these tips and strategies!

About the author

Ashley Hill is a Scholarship Search Strategist who is passionate about teaching stressed and overwhelmed corporate moms how to pay less for their college bound child’s college education so that they can help their children to get into their best-fit college with ease. She is the author of The Ultimate Guide for Finding and Winning More Money for College Now and The Ultimate Guide for Finding and Winning More Money for College Now: Nursing Edition.

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