Student loan company offers tips for filling out financial aid paperwork

SallieMae, one of the largest lenders of student loans in the U.S., recently offered students some advice on how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Officials at SallieMae said that 20 percent of students and their families did not submit FAFSA paperwork last year because they thought they wouldn't be eligible for financial aid or weren't aware of the support that is available.

"Sallie Mae recommends a ‘1-2-3 approach’ to help families pay for college," Martha Holler, senior vice president of the organization, said in a statement. "First, take advantage of free money such as grants and scholarships, second, explore federal loans, and, third, fill the gap with affordable private loans."

Students at some schools, such as the University of Northern Iowa, can fill out their FAFSA in as little as 10 minutes, according to the college's student newspaper. Now, students filling out college applications for the university can submit their parents' tax information online, eliminating the need to wait for lengthy paperwork processes to be completed.

Financial aid like Stafford loans and Pell Grants, which may be received by filling out the FAFSA, can really help offset the cost of your degree. Talk to your college adviser to ask which programs you might be eligible for.

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