ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Local financial aid counselors are stressing the importance of completing the FAFSA early.
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid and it determines whether or not a student is eligible for certain grants and loans to help pay for college tuition.
Mandy Hamner is a financial aid counselor at Darton State College. She says students need to complete the FAFSA application before May.
Hamner says, "Students who wait to the last minute are stressing, wondering if they're going to have enough funds to pay for college…because the longer you wait, the harder it is to get processed before college starts in August."
Those who complete the FAFSA early have a better chance of receiving more money for tuition. Hamner mentions that schools get allocated special grants which they share with those who finish the application.
Also, Hamner suggests that all students take the time to complete the FAFSA. Financial aid is often mistaken as only for those with low income. However, those considered middle class are also receiving help for tuition. Income is a factor when it comes to determining financial aid eligibility, but it's not the only factor. Other factors, like household size, also determine how much aid a student receives towards his or her tuition.
In order to keep your information safe, only use the website FAFSA.gov when completing your application. Also, create a username and password that you can remember and do not share it with anyone else.
Darton State College is one of three local colleges that will host the Albany Go to College event on Saturday, February 20, 2016. From 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., students can receive help with filling out the FAFSA. There will also be information for parents of college students and high school students planning to apply for college.
For more information on the Albany Go to College event, visit www.darton.edu/gotocollege.