Why Should You Apply for Graduate Financial Aid Early?

Discover the benefits of submitting your FAFSA in January.

Photo: Thinkstock

Applying for financial aid for graduate school can be tricky if you’ve never done it before. Maybe your parents handled your financial aid application in college, or it has been several years since you have been in school. Regardless of your situation, you want to ensure that you get the best financial aid award for your masters degree program.

You can still have an effect on the amount of aid you receive even though it is ultimately decided by your graduate school, as well as the state and federal government. Applying early for your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the best thing that you can do to increase your financial aid award. You may fill out your FAFSA online or on paper. However, it is much faster to complete the FAFSA online application.

The amount of money that your graduate school can give you depends on how much it receives from the federal government.

Submit Your FAFSA in January

Although the FAFSA form is not due until late June, you can submit your FAFSA for the next school year as early as January 1. You should begin planning to fill out your FAFSA and gather all appropriate documents at the beginning of December. If you are still a dependent of your parents, make sure that they fill out their income tax forms before you apply for financial aid.

If you or your parents can’t get around to filing taxes until April, you can still submit your FAFSA in January. Simply estimate your tax information and make any adjustments after you file your taxes. This will ensure that your award letter is determined as soon as you are accepted.

Why Apply for Financial Aid Early?

Admissions committees generally determine a student’s financial aid award after they have made the decision on who is going to be accepted. So, if you have your financial aid information in early, then they can start the determination process early.

Submitting your FAFSA early allows schools the time to evaluate your financial situation and determine how much money they can offer you. The FAFSA fund has more money at the beginning of the year simply because most of it has not been accounted for.

The amount of money that your graduate school can give you depends on how much it receives from the federal government. With the shaky economy, it is even more important to apply for financial aid early, as the number of FAFSA applications being submitted is on the rise.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

Top 10 Tips to Pay for Graduate School
Masters Degree Scholarships, Grants, Fellowships and Assistantships
Graduate Student Loans: What are my Options?
How to Get In-State Tuition as a Graduate Student
How to Get Your Employer to Pay for Your Graduate Studies

See All Graduate School Financial Aid Articles