The Priority Deadline: Guest Post by Anjilee Dodge

Today we have a helpful guest post from Anjilee, a financial aid advisor from Seattle. As an advisor, Anjilee insists you meet the deadline for filling out your FAFSA. She also has some answers for the feeble excuses students give when they can’t seem to allocate 20 minutes every year for their financial well being. I say that sounds like time well spent. Thanks for the article Anjilee!

The Priority Deadline
By Anjilee Dodge

The Priority Deadline:
MEET IT!!! Seriously, there is no reason someone can’t fill out the FAFSA by February 15th. The common excuses we hear:

My parents don’t complete their taxes until June.

Our response: It is completely acceptable to use estimates to complete the FAFSA. So if your parents made around the same amount in 2009 as they did in 2010 use 2009 figures to estimate earnings. OR simply give us your best estimate. If you or your parents make $25 an hour and work 40 hours a week that would be $25X40 hrs= $1000; $1000 X 52 wks = $52,000. The FAFSA also has income estimators that can be used as tools to estimate taxes paid. Furthermore employers are legally required to mail out W2s by February 1st so you and your parents should have at least a week to complete the FAFSA with 2010 earnings information.

I thought I didn’t need to fill out a FAFSA because I don’t take out any loans.

Our response: If students wish to qualify for institutional scholarships, state and federal grants students need to complete the FAFSA by the Priority Deadline of February 15th. We award certain scholarships on a first come first serve basis and completion of the FAFSA is how we determine if you are interested and eligible for grants and scholarships. We run out of money fast so we need to have a system in place to award our limited funding in a pragmatic way. The deadline is how we do it! So, to receive the best Financial Aid package possible, complete the FAFSA by February 15th and turn in all additional requested documentation soon thereafter.

My parents make too much money.

Our response: No matter how much money you or your parents make, at the very least you will qualify for an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. Also, if you wish to be eligible for institutional scholarships and grants we require all current students to complete the FAFSA by the Priority Deadline of February 15th.

Nobody told me.

Our Response: All schools send out reminder letters to students and parents reminding them to complete the FAFSA by the Priority Deadline. Also, for our school at least, there are numerous flyers posted around campus.

I did the FAFSA last year.

Our Response: Students and parents must renew the FAFSA every year with current personal and income information.

I didn’t know how to do it/ no one would help me.

Our Response: We will help you! The Financial Aid office is always willing to help students complete the FAFSA. We can coach students and parents over the phone and we offer a student computer in the office that students and parents are more than welcome to use. Or you can call 1-800-4-FedAid and the FAFSA experts can answer any and all of your questions.

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