LouisvilleKY students can apply for financial aid early

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Applications Being Accepted 3 Months Early; Kentucky funds still awarded on first-come, first-serve basis

(Oct. 3, 2016) – Applying for student Federal Financial Aid just got a lot easier – and a lot earlier.

People intending to begin college courses in fall of 2017 can start applying NOW for federal financial aid, three months earlier than in years past. That means high school seniors and current college students – as well as adults wanting to return to college – should complete the “Free Application for Federal Student Aid,” also known as “FAFSA” as soon as possible.

In addition to the application launch date moving up to Oct. 1, students also are able to use 2015 tax records for the application. (Under the previous rules, they would not have been able to apply until Jan. 1 of 2017 – and would have to complete their 2016 taxes first.)

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“Helping people afford college is not only good for individual students, but it helps develop our workforce and grow our economy,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who is also chairman of 55,000 Degrees, the city’s education movement. “Recent data shows that Louisville has made significant gains in college attainment – with 44.7 percent of our workforce now holding at least a two-year degree. That’s good news, but we know we can do better, and we will.”

Though college can be expensive, research shows it’s worth the investment. With a college degree you can expect to earn about $1 million more over a lifetime.

In Kentucky, it’s especially important to act quickly, because it’s one of a handful of states where state financial aid dollars are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. The good news is that it’s easier than ever to complete the FAFSA. You can do it online and it’s completely free. Go to Fafsa.gov.

Even if you don’t believe you will qualify for aid, it’s important to apply because most colleges require the FAFSA to be completed before a student can be considered for any sort of financial aid, including work-study, student loans, and scholarships.

“Don’t leave money on the table!” said Emma Brown, Director of Community Engagement for 55,000 Degrees, Louisville’s education movement. “You want to get all the financial assistance you qualify for. Applying for financial aid online is the first step toward doing that. College may be more affordable than you think. ”

Most people can walk through the form fairly easily, but if you have questions or want some help, there is help available. (More details about these events are on the 55,000 Degrees monthly calendar here.)

55,000 Degrees, Jefferson County Public Schools and other community partners are working together this year to increase the number of applications by 5 percent in Louisville.

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