File FAFSA Now to Receive Most Student Financial Aid, says WorldWideLearn.com

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Now is the time to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to qualify for the optimum amount of financial aid during the 2007-2008 academic year, according to WorldWideLearn.com (http://www.worldwidelearn.com/financial -aid/), the world's premier online directory for education. With W-2 forms available to parents and students by the January 31, 2007 deadline, families are able to provide accurate income information on the FAFSA in order to receive an estimate of financial aid eligibility.

It's time for college-bound students and their families to complete the 2007-2008 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), according to WorldWideLearn.com (http://www.worldwidelearn.com/financial-aid/), the world's premiere online directory for education. Parents and students are advised to complete the FAFSA as soon as they receive their W-2 forms (available by the January 31, 2007 deadline to receive W-2s) so they can provide the most accurate picture of their financial circumstances and receive a timely estimate of their eligibility for financial aid.

Families can file the FAFSA any time between January 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008 to qualify for aid during the 2007-2008 academic year. However, most educational institutions and state scholarship agencies have varying deadlines--some as early as March 1--that students and their families must meet to be eligible for the maximum amount of aid. Although certain types of aid are not dependent on meeting these early deadlines, filing early is always a good idea.

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings urges students to file for the more than $80 billion in federal grants, loans, and work-study assistance to be awarded during 2007-2008. "Contrary to popular belief, most families are eligible for some financial aid to pay for academic or technical studies," she said. "I urge all students to apply as early as possible."

A paper FAFSA is still available, but 95 percent of the estimated 14 million annual financial aid applicants complete the FAFSA or renewal FAFSA online. WorldWideLearn.com advises FAFSA applicants to:

  •     Determine whether they are dependent or independent using the FAFSA criteria
  •     Gather documents that will help them complete the FAFSA--Social Security card, driver's license, prior year W-2 forms, tax returns, and other income, investment, and asset records for the student (and the parents, if the student is dependent)
  •     Print out a copy of the FAFSA on the Web worksheet and complete it before going online to complete the FAFSA

To encourage postsecondary education, the U.S. Department of Education has launched a financial aid public awareness campaign that relays the message--"the most costly education is the one not begun"--targeting more than 16,000 English and Spanish-speaking newspapers and magazines, and radio and television outlets. The Department also warns applicants to "be wary of organizations that charge a fee to submit your application…generally, any help that you pay for can be received free from your school or the U.S. Department of Education."

WorldWideLearn.com is the world's premier online directory of education, featuring informative resources, more than 2,500 online courses, over 1,600 online degree programs, 200 online universities and 2,300 campus-based career college programs. WorldWideLearn.com receives thousands of visitors each day and has been featured on MSMoney.com.

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