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Trends in FAFSA Filing: Importance of Filing Early

The cost of a college degree continues to be a barrier to many students interested in a post-secondary education. This is especially true of first-generation students and those from low-income backgrounds. Many who work in higher education understand how important filing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is, but when a student’s FAFSA is filed can be just as important. Some grant programs utilize data from the FAFSA, but these programs may also have strict application deadlines or distribute funds on a first come, first served basis until the pool of resources has been exhausted.

CampusLogic came out with a downloadable report covering the filing patterns of approximately 2.4 million FAFSA applications that were submitted between October 1, 2017 and October 31, 2018. The report was interested in the patterns that might be uncovered by looking at background characteristics from the FAFSA filings. Those characteristics included a student’s dependency, household income, age and whether or not the student was returning or filing a FAFSA for the first time.

These findings show a disparity in the filing times of students who may need financial support the most and how filing later may adversely affect the financial aid they receive.

At College Possible, our Catalyze coaches support students throughout the financial aid process and are available to help them navigate the complexities and challenges they may run into. Financial management is one of the three core competencies –along with academic success and personal development– of our coaching curriculum. We recognize how important it is to help students overcome the financial barriers that may prevent them from earning a college degree.

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