File the FAFSA Now for More Financial Aid in the 2018-19 School Year

You can file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid as early as October 1 -- and the sooner, the better.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
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Question: My son is a senior in high school, and we'll be applying to colleges this fall. When can I hand in my federal financial aid application, and what information do I need to fill it out?

Answer: The timeline for filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA) changed last year. You can submit your application as early as October 1 (you no longer need to wait until January 1, as you did prior to last year). For the current FAFSA, which helps determine financial aid for the 2018–19 school year, you'll use your 2016 income and tax information.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.