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College Financial Aid Window Opens in January. Counselors Offer Tips to Help Families Make the Most of Financial Aid

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- For high school seniors and their families, January brings the first opportunity to apply for financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the basis for determining all federal aid and some state and school aid a student is eligible to receive, according to college planning experts at

"Many myths about financial aid abound, including the misconception that one's parents make too much money," said James Beach, director of college funding for and contributor to the COLLEGE bound guide(TM), a monthly newsletter for college-bound students and their families. "It is important for students and families to know the facts about financial aid and start the process early, since forms are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis starting on January 1."

Beach offers the following tips for families seeking help paying for college:

Collect the information you need to complete the FAFSA: student's and parents' Social Security numbers; federal tax returns and income estimates for this past year; statements from bank and investment accounts; and student's driver's license number.

Register for a Federal Student Aid PIN. Do this at so you can sign your FAFSA form and other loan documents electronically.

Sign up for the Selective Service. Young men over the age of 18 must sign up to be eligible for government loans and grants. Register online at

Check your work. After you submit the FAFSA, you will receive an email telling you if anything is missing. Complete the required steps immediately for your form to be processed.

Revise estimated income figures. If you apply in early January, you have to estimate your 2010 income. Once your tax returns are complete, revise the income figures accordingly and resubmit the application for processing. You should receive a Student Aid Report informing you of your eligibility for Federal financial aid.

Stay on top of things. While most schools require the FAFSA, many have additional applications for financial aid. Respond immediately to any request from your school for additional information.

Don't give up hope. If the total financial aid package you're awarded is still not enough to meet your needs, you can opt to attend a less expensive college or appeal the decision. Change in a family's financial status is reason to notify the college's financial aid office. If your family has expenses that are out of the ordinary, share this information with your financial aid officer.

ACCI expertly guides students and families through the competitive college admissions process with affordable, one-on-one counseling and a comprehensive suite of convenient, web-based tools and services. For information visit or call 866-ASK-ACCI. ACCI also offers a monthly newsletter subscription to COLLEGE bound guide(TM) at
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Jan 5, 2011
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