The beginning of 2014 is an important time for college and college-bound students. Why? Because it marks the start of “Financial Aid Season”, when schools, scholarship organizations, and financial aid programs begin reviewing applicants for the upcoming academic year. If you want to give yourself edge in the hunt for financial aid, these are the most essential to-do’s to help you pay for college.
File your taxes (or have your parents file theirs)
Why it matters: There are numerous financial aid forms (including those listed below) which ask students and parents alike to report their annual income. Institutions that award financial aid factor in parent and individual incomes when calculating how much aid to provide a student. Being able to report the most accurate and up to date information will allow providers to award an amount based on your current financial standing.
Where to do it: There are plenty of tax-preparing services and do-it-yourself programs to get the job done. But before you (or your parents) get started, make sure to check to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website for specific details on the process.
When to do it by: Ideally, you’ll want to file your taxes as soon as possible for the 2013 calendar year. January 31st, 2014 is the deadline for employers to provide their employees with a Form W-2 (the form that lists one’s annual income); April 15th, 2014 is the deadline for an individual to file their taxes for the 2013 calendar year.
Complete the FAFSA
Why it matters: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form for college students used by the U.S. Department of Education to determine a student’s financial aid eligibility. By submitting a FAFSA a student is applying for federal financial aid, rather than aid that is provided by a school or third-party organization.
Where to do it: You can submit your FAFSA through its official website.
When to do it by: The FAFSA for the 2014-2015 school year becomes available on January 1st, 2014. The sooner you can file your FAFSA the better.
For a complete list of financial aid must-do's for 2014, check out this post from our friends at Zinch.
Provided by Zinch
Zinch is the leading network for college-bound students. Zinch helps students stay on track by matching students to best-fit schools and connecting them to admissions offices, matching students with scholarships, reminding them about important deadlines, and providing students with valuable tips throughout the process. With more than 800 schools and $1 billion in scholarships, Zinch empowers students with opportunities to get in and pay for school.