FAFSA application deadline approaching, how COVID-19 impacts filing

NOW: FAFSA application deadline approaching, how COVID-19 impacts filing

MISHAWAKA, Ind. --- As many Hoosier families face financial uncertainty, now could be more important than ever to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)—even if you have never struggled with paying for college before.

“We don’t want any family to think there’s no help out there because there is,” Bill Wozniak said, VP of Marketing, INvestEd.

INvestEd is a non-profit that helps families across the state of Indiana with information about how to pay for college or have less student loan debt.

The deadline to file for FAFSA is on Wednesday, April 15 in Indiana.

“We don’t want any Hoosier to miss out on generous state of Indiana financial aid,” Wozniak said.

Wozniak said FAFSA is the most important aid form for families to file.

“And that puts in motion things for the state or the college or those groups to do their job later,” Wozniak said.

As for what is needed to file for FAFSA, families or students will need information from taxes.

“2018 taxes is what the majority of what families are going to use,” Wozniak said.

That includes documents such as W-2 Forms and investments.

One of the biggest problems during the pandemic is that families cannot attend their children’s high school financial aid night for help or utilize the usual means of completing the forms.

“The experts know the form so well that they can give them the answer they need,” Wozniak said.

Without that help, filing can be more difficult for many Hoosiers.

“Who knows how many families have had a difficult time right now,” Wozniak said. “And the more difficult the time is now, that could mean additional aid in the fall.”

Many families are in financially uncertain positions right now. Other families might not be struggling now, but could in the future.

“Who maybe in February were doing just fine, but in March or April or May or even June, they’re going to have trouble,” Wozniak said.

Additional programs may come up or colleges could have additional funding available down the line, which is why it is important to file now even if you are in a financially stable position, according to Wozniak.

“We don’t know what will exist in a month or two or what a family’s situation will be in a month or two,” Wozniak said. “So they key is to get it filed and let all of the rest of that sort itself out a little bit later.”

In most cases, families do qualify for aid, which is why it is best to reach out to find out what is available, according to Wozniak.

As the pandemic evolves, there is no way to tell what programs might be available even next month, so it is best to stay on top of it, according to Wozniak.

INvestEd is a free resource to assist families with information on how to pay for college and minimize student loan debt. For free help in completing FAFSA, you can contact INvestEd at (317) 715-9007 or click here for more information.

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