Financial aid window open

Group advises filling out applications as soon as possible

By Brittany Anas

Friday, January 5, 2007

Financial Resources

www.fafsa.ed.gov

The federal government’s Web site; fill out and file your FAFSA there

1-800-4-FEDAID

The federal government’s help line

www.FinAid.org

A comprehensive Web site that includes information on scholarships, grants and loans

www.fastweb.com

One of the largest online resources for finding college scholarships

www.collegeboard.com

Has information on the financial aid process and scholarships

An education-financing group is giving this New Year’s message to students who plan to go to college in the fall: Fill out financial-aid applications soon.

The application window for college financial aid opened with the new year, and students shouldn’t procrastinate because some of the money is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, say education experts with CollegeInvest. The nonprofit group works to keep higher education affordable for Colorado families.

“Financial aid is out there and available to almost everybody,” said Kathryn Powell of CollegeInvest. “The sooner you apply, the better your chances.”

Financial aid is intended to help make up the difference between what a family can afford and the full cost of college. There are three types: grants, scholarships and loans.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid forms called FAFSA are used by government and college officials to determine the amount of aid awarded through scholarships, grants, work-study programs and student loans.

Financial aid is available to students in almost every income bracket, according to CollegeInvest.

“A common misconception is that students won’t qualify for federal aid because their parents’ income is too high,” Powell said. “However, many students qualify for aid, even with household incomes over $100,000.”

Total financial aid for Colorado students increased about 55 percent from 2001 to 2006, according to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

The state agency says Colorado students received more than $1.4 billion in financial aid in the last fiscal year, which ended in June. Of that, 59 percent came in the form of student loans, 18 percent from school scholarships, 10 percent from federal Pell Grants and 6 percent from state aid.

Evan Icolari, associate director of financial aid at the University of Colorado, said 15,000 CU students receive some form of aid.

The FAFSA applications can be submitted through June, but CU sets an April 1 deadline for its students.

“At this point, it’s still early,” Icolari said. “Certainly nobody needs to panic.”

Students often wait to see what financial-aid packages colleges offer before they confirm to one school.

CU officials say that it can take between four to six weeks to receive a student aid report after a financial-aid application is submitted. That time frame is reduced to about one week if the form is filed online.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at (303) 473-1132 or anasb@dailycamera.com.

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