Important Changes

Paying for college is not always easy. College costs rise every year and many students and families need some form of financial assistance to help pay these costs. The following suggestions will help facilitate the financial aid process.

  • Students are encouraged to contact their high school counselor to inquire about federal, state and other sources of student financial assistance programs.

  • Students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA opens this year on October 1st, earlier than in past years. There are several changes to the 2017-2018 FAFSA form. Please click here for a summary of these important changes.

  • If possible, students should apply for federal financial aid in November before the academic year they plan to begin college. A late application may reduce the amount of money the student ultimately receives. The early application date ensures students a better chance of being considered for all available programs.

  • Some colleges will also require completion of additional forms and may offer financial aid specific to that college (in addition to federal finanical aid programs). Students are encouraged to contact the institution they want to attend and request information about the financial aid programs the school offers and the forms they will need to complete.

  • In addition to federal financial aid, the State of Florida offers state financial aid programs. To be considered for State of Florida student financial aid programs, including the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program, students should also complete the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA), available online at www.FloridaStudentFinancialAid.org, Select State Grants, Scholarships & Applications to access this application which opens on December 1, 2016 for 2017-2018 academic year funding.

FAFSA first!

Attention School District of Lee County high school seniors and parents: Now is the time to start your FAFSA.

Check below for dates & times to Financial Aid Nights in your zone. 

FAFSA InfographicFAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and is now available for the 2017-2018 school year. In order to be eligible to receive any federal financial aid, all high school seniors planning on pursuing college or career school must file their FAFSA. It is the ONLY way to apply for federal student aid. Each year, the federal government provides more than $150 billion in financial aid, which includes grants, work-study and loans for college or career school. Many colleges and career schools also use the FAFSA to determine additional financial aid awards, such as state grants and private scholarships.

Filing for FAFSA is essential for students planning on attending college or career school.

New FAFSA changes

There are two important changes to the FAFSA that affect high school seniors this year applying for college or career school:

  1. The FAFSA is available earlier. This year, the FAFSA “start” date has been moved up to Oct. 1, three months earlier than in past years. File your FAFSA now, so you can receive financial aid award offers from schools sooner and make informed decisions about college or career school affordability.

  2. FAFSA for the 2017-2018 school year can now be submitted using 2015 tax return information. This means you should already have the required tax information handy for the application. You can even import this information directly from the IRS Data Retrieval Tool online into your FAFSA. This will make the process easier and quicker.

Apply early!

Even if you aren’t sure yet where you will attend college or career school, don’t wait to file your FAFSA. By submitting your FAFSA earlier, you will receive financial aid award offers from the schools you are considering sooner, and make smarter decisions about college or career school affordability.

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