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Time to apply for financial aid for college

Posted January 09, 2013 in Advice Column, West Des Moines

Happy New Year! January is a fresh start — resolutions, renewals and financial aid. Wait, what? Yes, January is the start of the financial aid season for students looking to attend college in the fall. Current high school seniors can file their FAFSA online as soon as Jan. 1 of the year they intend to go to college (or renew their FAFSA for subsequent years).

FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is available online and is absolutely free to submit. As this is a federal government form, you must use the appropriate website, which is

There are other websites out there that will have you fill out the FAFSA and then charge you to file it — sometimes as much as $80 or more. You never have to pay money to file FAFSA. “Free” is even in the name of the application.

Students and their parents will need their tax information from 2012 in order to file FAFSA for 2013. You do not need to have your taxes completed, although the IRS and U.S. Department of Education have a partnership that saves you time and makes uploading your tax information directly into your online FAFSA incredibly easy. We recommend filing your taxes as soon as possible followed directly by your FAFSA. Colleges and universities have priority deadlines for applications, scholarships and grants. Be sure to know these for the schools to which you have applied/are applying and file your free FAFSA at the website above ASAP.

Information provided by Heather Isaacson of Home Remedies,, 515-243-7810.

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