Students Encouraged to Mind May 1 Deadline for Fall Financial Aid

Among the things students most look forward to about summer, worrying about fall financial aid is likely not one of them — but those who apply before the summer begins won’t have to. 

Filling out the FAFSA
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One of the requirements for applying for financial aid is filling out the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, online at fafsa.gov

Tuesday, May 1, is the priority application deadline for fall financial aid packages; for those who apply by this date, they’ll receive notice of their award by mid-June. Unlike applying for acceptance to the Institute, students must apply for aid every year.

“Doing it earlier gives students more time to ensure it’s complete, and makes sure we can review all their options,” said Marie Mons, director of the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA). Mons said some funds require early application; for others, students simply have a better shot if they apply early and give OSFA more time to evaluate their options.

Last year, Financial Aid saw an increase in filings of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and Mons expects applications will be at the same level or higher for 2012-13. A new federal rule this year requires that some applicants also submit a tax transcript, which they must obtain from the IRS, to verify certain financial information. Students required to submit this document will be notified via email and directed to BuzzPort for more information. 

Procrastination can put one at a disadvantage: later submissions are often drawing on a smaller pool of aid. Many students may still rely on assistance from parents for finances, but, because of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations on what information may be divulged to parents, the student is the primary contact for financial aid purposes.

“Our goal is to deliver, and to have a financial aid path planned out for students,” Mons said. Last year, OSFA delivered more than $187 million for Tech students.

Mons encourages all students to apply for aid, even if they don’t anticipate needing it for a certain term. If unforeseen circumstances arise and a student finds that aid is needed, their application will be in a stack among others that arrived late in the cycle.

“Applying as early as possible makes us better equipped to help when things change,” Mons said. Those who receive a financial aid package do not necessarily have to accept the award. 

A financial aid application requires the FAFSA and a brief Georgia Tech application telling what type of aid a student wants and, with many students co-oping or being intermittently off campus for other endeavors, when they will be on campus. Both forms are available on the OSFA website.

To apply for financial aid for fall 2012, visit finaid.gatech.edu. Students with questions or who need assistance may contact their financial advisor.