Students encouraged to apply for FAFSA early

LITTLE ROCK (KATV)--Whether you're attending college for the first time or continuing your studies, now is the time to start applying for federal and state aid.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA is already accepting applications.

"This is the time of year to start applying for financial aid, the starting point is the free application for federal student aid," said University of Arkansas Little Rock's Financial Aid Director Tammy Harrison.

Students can apply online, but if you wait until the last minute you run the risk of not meeting deadlines, or scholarship and grant funding running out.

"The free application for student aid became available January 1st, different institutions will have different priority deadlines, here at UALR for example our priority deadline is March 1st so right around the corner," added Harrison.

To apply you'll need some specific documents:

Social Security Number (or Alien Registration Number if not a U.S. citizen)Most recent federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earnedBank statements and records of investment (if applicable)Record of untaxed income (if applicable)A Federal Student Aid PIN to sign electronically (If you do not already have one, obtain one here)

However, if you haven't filed your taxes this year yet, an estimate will do until then.

"That may be estimated information on what they will file with the IRS, or once the actual information if filed with the IRS, it can be directly retrieved from the Internal Revenue Service and loaded into the FAFSA form," said Harrison.

Anyone is eligible to apply, no matter the income of your household. However those who need it the most will get the most.

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