February is

Financial Aid Awareness Month in Tennessee. Rex Barber writing in the Johnson City Press:

ETSU suggests students apply early for financial aid
If you plan on going to college in the fall, you should think seriously about applying now for financial aid, according to East Tennessee State University.

Financial aid money is there in the form of grants, scholarships and low-interest loans. And somebody is going to get it, all of it.

“It’s important for everybody that’s considering going to college anywhere, regardless of your income, to apply for financial aid, because a lot of times, even upper middle class families need for the students to get student loans,” said Margaret Miller, director of the ETSU financial aid office.

February is Financial Aid Awareness Month in Tennessee. This is the month Miller encourages all students to turn in their Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form is the key to getting any kind of aid, from federal work studies to Pell Grants to the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship to federal loans and other forms of aid.

Miller said about 30 percent of people who did not file a FAFSA because they think they would not qualify for aid actually did qualify for some form of federal aid.

And the money to be awarded is not solely based on monetary need. The lottery scholarship is based on academic performance, for the basic version. Still, a FAFSA is required for this entitlement to be delivered to you.

For most aid, the rub lies in getting the form filled out as quick as possible. Even if the form is returned lacking information, that does not matter, because the original submission date is what is used for determining the order.

“And the earlier you fill out the FAFSA, the better, as far as the Tennessee state grants, because they give those funds out ... until they’re gone,” Miller said. “And so if you apply later, you may actually be eligible as far as the calculations for a state grant, but if there’s no money left in the state grant pool, then you would not get a state grant.

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