Financial Aid Information

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). The FAFSA opens on October 1st.

  • If possible, students should apply for federal financial aid in October 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). Select State Grants, Scholarships & Applications to access this application which opens on December 1st each year for the next academic year funding.

Pig with a text box with FAFSA First

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

FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and is available on October 1st each 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.

Recent FAFSA changes

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

  1. The FAFSA is available earlier. 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 2018-2019 school year can now be submitted using 2016 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.

For more information and helpful resources, visit FAFSA First!

Complete the FAFSA online