CollegeInvest, a not-for-profit division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, reminds students to fill out and send in their Free Application for Federal Student Aid as soon as possible.
Some college financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, meaning time can be an issue.
Students must fill out the FAFSA to receive all forms of financial aid, including scholarships, grants, work-study programs and student loans.
"The FAFSA should be filled out and submitted as soon as you can," said Katie Powell of CollegeInvest. "Families should get all their information together and submit the FAFSA to maximize the amount of college financial aid dollars they are awarded."
A common misconception about financial aid is families will not qualify because of their income; however, financial aid is available to students in almost every income bracket. The options vary in each income bracket, and range from Pell grants to subsidized federal loans to aid given by colleges to scholarships.
CollegeInvest has posted information on the FAFSA at collegeinvest.org/FAFSA. There students and their families can:
- See answers to frequently asked FAFSA questions.
- Print a checklist of items needed to complete the FAFSA.
- Get quick tips to keep in mind when filling out the FAFSA.
- View an informative online presentation.
"Get started now to make sure you get all your information submitted on time," Powell said.
Teachers can reduce student loan debt
CollegeInvest has helped Colorado teachers in tough-to-fill jobs repay more than $320,000 in student loans in 2006 with the Loan Incentive For Teachers program.
Western Slope teachers received $24,969 in loan forgiveness through the LIFT program.
LIFT helps teachers in high-demand disciplines or those who serve in rural districts repay their student loans. Qualified teachers can get up to $2,000 a year toward loan repayment for up to four years, meaning that an eligible teacher may receive up to an $8,000 reduction in his or her student loan debt.
"CollegeInvest recognizes the importance of recruiting and retaining great teachers in Colorado classrooms," said Kathryn Powell of CollegeInvest. "Teachers in high demand disciplines are needed across the state, and CollegeInvest is proud to provide additional incentives to make sure teachers can continue to make a difference in the schools and areas of study that need them most."