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Profitt Report: How to receive scholarships, grants and student loans next school year

Photo credit: MGN

College students have plenty on their minds but they should add one more task to their list: filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA.

That form is your ticket to money for college and no one would walk away from free money right? The high school class of 2017 did: they missed out on $2.3 billion of free federal grant money for college according to Nerd Wallet because they didn’t fill out the FAFSA.

“It’s a long process, they want to know everything,” said Anabel Lauri, studying political science at Mott Community College, “you have to be focused.”

Lauri said it took her about 40 minutes to fill out the form.

“We've been encouraging our students at U of M-Flint to do the same and we hope students across Michigan are doing so as well,” said Lori Vedder, director of the UM-Flint financial aid department.

She said if you’re attending school in the 2018-2019 school year, you can fill out the FAFSA right now using 2016 tax information. That information goes to the schools you’re applying to and if you’re accepted, the school will send you financial aid package.

“We’ll start sending out financial aid award letters in late November, early December. Other institutions have moved up their notification time frames as well,” Vedder said.

Even if you don’t plan to use loans, Vedder suggests you fill it out. You might receive some scholarships or grants and she said it’s nice to have loans on standby in case life gets in the way.

“In a pinch, a family feels they can't pay the bill, loans are there, they help the student build a credit history,” she said.

The Profitt Report wants to hear from you - please send consumer questions and story ideas to ProfittReport@WSMH.com

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