If you tweet, you can can get your financial aid questions answered by the experts the last Wednesday of each month from 5-6 p.m. EST. Yesterday's hot topic on Twitter was FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
Figuring out how to finance a costly college education is a major part of college prep. The federal government can help eligible students with grants, loans and a job through the Federal Work/Study program but only if they file a FAFSA.
FAFSA is also a gateway form for higher education money from state, college and private donor sources. These other financial aid resources may require the FAFSA as a prerequisite before offering awards from their own programs.
Submitting a FAFSA every school year a family wants help to pay for college is an annual ritual across the country. A new FAFSA is released every January and students are encouraged to submit their FAFSA as soon as possible. Some financial aid program monies are given to the early filers first so latecomers, even if eligible, may miss out.
The FAFSA for the school year 2013-14 was made public on January 1. Families with a high school student who will be attending college in the fall of 2013 can start filling out their initial FAFSA now.
It's smart college prep for college-bound students and their parents to get acquainted with the financial aid process. Twitter makes it easy and informative. The username for FSA is @FAFSA.
Yesterday, Federal Student Aid answered questions about determining independent or dependent student status, filing deadlines and eligibility for aid. FSA responded to general information queries and specific situations.
To participate in the live Q&A sessions sponsored by FSA, Twitter chat participants use the hashtag #AskFAFSA. They can read answers supplied by Federal Student Aid to other parent and student questions.
Before joining in, students should take the time to review their Twitter usernames and profiles. Changing any inappropriate names and profile descriptions is another component of college prep.
If you have a comment about FAFSA, financial aid, Twitter and college prep, please let me know via Twitter and in the comments section below. To get an email about my future articles, please click on "Subscribe" directly above "Comments."