(NBC) – The beginning of the annual college financial aid application season is here.
Students can start filing today for a free application for federal student aid or “FAFSA” for the 2019-2020 school year.
Experts say it’s better to file early, and every student who is considering college next year should fill out the FAFSA.
Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for federal grants, most states and many colleges also use the form to award grants and scholarships. It’s also required to take out any federal student loans.
Students who don’t file the FAFSA forgo an average of $8, 741 in aid, according to a study published in Research in Higher Education.
You can complete the form online here.