If you want to know how to get the most financial aid, the FAFSA deadline you cannot afford to miss this year is October 1, 2016.

First come, first serve.

That’s how FAFSA financial aid is passed out.

Yes, there are complex formulas and rigamarole.

But all things being equal, those who apply the soonest get more of the aid for which they qualify than those who come who come later.

And THIS year the season for hunting for financial aid starts earlier than it ever has before.

OCTOBER 1, 2016 — That’s the date to mark in great big red letters: SUBMIT FAFSA APP.

Get your FAFSA application submitted by October 1.

It should be easy because the tax information you’ll submit is done already!

In year’s past this wasn’t the case. In years past, the FAFSA required you to submit tax information for the year prior to starting college.

So if you applied to start college in the fall of 2015, parents had to rush to get their 2014 taxes done to submit them for the FAFSA application.

That just added more stress to an already high-pressure situation.

But not anymore.

For those of you applying to start college for the fall of 2017, you are asked to submit your 2015 tax information.

They call it “Prior Prior Year.”

Horrible name. Not many marketing skills at the helm of the FAFSA office.

What you need to know if you are asking how to get the most financial aid —  get this form done and submitted by October 1.

Be sure to include all the colleges you’re considering.

BIG HINT: if you want to know how to get the most financial aid, do NOT do what I did!!!

I applied to just one college. Once I got accepted, I was so happy I took the financial aid package they gave me.

I thought I was so smart.

But that mistake lead to me eventually gathering over $35,000 in student loans.

The second most helpful strategy if you’re asking how to get the most financial aid: apply to 5-10 colleges of various types that could be strong matches for your goals.

If you are struggling to find those colleges or to define your goals, Off-Trail On Purpose is here to help you.

The students who get the most out of college are the ones who have very clear goals for college. They approach college strategically, knowing what it is REALLY about.  And they keep their debt as low as possible.

If you aren’t sure you know these pieces, contact us. We know the strategies that you many people have never been taught — the ones that make the difference.

What ever you do — don’t ignore the FAFSA. Don’t assume it’s not worth your time or you won’t qualify. Fill out the FAFSA early and every year.


Want our step-by-step INSIDER STRATEGY to get colleges’ attention? Click for “The 150-Word Email To Get Colleges To Want You.”










Are you ready to get personalized help in your college and career search? Click here to schedule your college planning strategy session.

Know someone who can use this? Share it with the buttons at the top!