Every year, the federal government awards roughly $150 billion to college students through need-based grants, loans, and work-study funds. Make sure you’re in the running.
Submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after Oct. 1 of your senior year. In addition to determining your eligibility for federal funds, many colleges and states use the form when distributing grants, so don’t delay. In some instances, money is limited. If you file your application late, you run the risk of finding out that certain funds—such as work-study awards—are already gone.