Don't Wait for the FAFSA Deadline

I’m in the midst  of organizing my family’s taxes, which is one reason why I haven’t been as faithful to my blog. I’ve got my receipts, 1099 forms, statements from financial institutions and other documents scattered all over my oak dining room table. When my husband, son and I eat at night all this stuff gets pushed to the side so I have to reorganize everything each time I tackle this thankless chore. It’s pathetic, I know.

I typically prolong finishing this dreary ritual until I get threats from my tax guy to get all the stuff to him or else I’ll have to file for an extension.

There are probably millions of tax procrastinators out there just like me, but if you plan to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) this year you need to get a move on. Filing the FAFSA is essential if you hope to receive financial aid for your child.

To complete the FAFSA, as well as the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, which some private schools require, you need to consult your tax return.

Some families assume they’ve got plenty of time to file their federal financial aid forms. After all, the FAFSA deadline isn’t until June 30.

If you wait that long, however, you will probably miss out on state assistance, as well as aid from private schools, since many of their aid deadlines are much earlier.

You can find many of the state financial aid deadlines here.

If you think doing your taxes is fun, you’ll really apreciate the FAFSA.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she writes a college blog for CBSMoneyWatch.com.

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