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Student Financial Aid: FAFSA filing begins October 1

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If you’re a high school or college student or parent, it’s important to know that beginning this year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) filing season for the 2017-18 academic year launches Oct. 1. This is a new timeline that starts three months earlier than usual to align financial aid applications with the college admissions season.

What does this mean for you? If you’re a student seeking financial aid, fill out the FAFSA as soon as you can. Many states and schools allocate funds on a first-come, first-served basis. What’s more, some states have deadlines for filing the FAFSA to be eligible for certain kinds of aid.

There’s no need to wait until your family has all of the necessary paperwork or has filed their income taxes to submit your FAFSA. You can submit the form using estimates, and then update the form later.

While you’re at it, be cautious about scholarship and financial aid scams. Ads or solicitations from companies may claim they have programs that could make you eligible to receive financial aid, including grants, student loans, work-study and other types of aid. For a processing fee, they say they’ll handle all the paperwork. But experts caution: The only application that will determine eligibility for all programs is the FAFSA.

If you’re contacted by companies or visit websites that say they’ll process your FAFSA for a fee, do yourself a favor and save some money, too. Visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Student Aid on the Web for free information on preparing for and funding education beyond high school. You can complete the FAFSA online, as well as learn about other FAFSA filing options. You also can call 1-800-4-FED-AID.

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I had a student load and it was paidboff, so why is it still on my credit report

My daughter is a jr this year. She graduates in 2018. When does she need to complete the FAFSA? This year, her jr year or her senior year? Thank you

The FAFSA is used to calculate financial aid for college students. You fill out a FAFSA when you're getting ready to go to college.

If your daughter will graduate from high school in 2018 and plans to start college in 2018, you would fill out the FAFSA in her senior year.

Go to the official Department of Education site to learn more.

Don't enroll with Devry their ripoffs. I enrolled 2012 graduated 2015 and still have not found a job. They sent me a few interviews which is over 2 hours away from where I live and the only interview I got on my own close to me I was basically told I have educational experience but no experience in the field. I am stuck with student loans that are no use to me. Worst decision of my life.

Where can I search to check if a college prep company has not had any complaints? The company called COLLEGE PLANNERS will file the FAFSA and CSS profile for a fee.

You can fill out the FAFSA online for free. The US Department of Education offers the form. Call 1-800-4-FED-AID to learn more.

To check on a business, you can search the company name and the words "review" or "complaint" online.

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