"You can't win if you don't play"

One of the simplest and most straight-forward advertising messages out there is the one for the lottery:  "You can't win if you don't play".   It is a great slogan and SO true.  Are the odds of winning ridiculous?  Yes.  But one thing is for certain – without buying a ticket, your odds of winning are very easy to calculate – zero!

With the upcoming FAFSA date of October 1st fast approaching, this is a great time to apply the same logic.  While depending on your financial situation, the amount of need-based aid may be little, one thing is for certain.  If you don’t fill out the form, your chance of receiving any federal need-based aid is easy to calculate – zero!

That’s why I am dedicating this month’s blog to making it as easy as possible for you to get the answers and information you need so you can complete the FAFSA on October 1st.  Here are the top 5 places to start:

1. The FAFSA website:  This is where you begin the process.  The new 2017-2018 FAFSA will be available beginning October 1st, 2016.

2. The FAFSA FAQ guide:  This downloadable pdf is a one-sheet that provides answers to the most FAQ for the new FAFSA cycle.  Download and keep handy.

3. YouTube videos like these: We know that YouTube is awesome for cute cat videos, but did you know that you can find all sorts of resources that will help you complete the FAFSA.  These are just two of many videos that are available.  Make sure that you put "2017-2018 FAFSA" in the search, so you get the most current information.

4. The financial aid offices of the colleges that you are applying to are also great resources.  Start by looking up the office of student financial aid on the college website, where you will most likely find a FAQ sheet that relates to the college specifically AND the FAFSA in general.  This one and this one were two of many I found, so check out the colleges you are applying to and see what information they have on their website. 

5. The website finaid.org provides a plethora of information and this specific link answers questions about eligibility, as well as other financial aid questions. There is a reason that most of the financial aid information websites contain the name Mark Kantrowitz. He is one of the leading experts on financial aid and the creator of FinAid, as well as the publisher of Fastweb and Cappex

Okay!  You're now ready to get started!

And, don’t forget!  Once you’ve completed the FAFSA, go out and purchase a lottery ticket!!  You never know!!