Schweyer: Students can apply for college financial aid beginning Oct. 1

Applications available three months earlier than previous years

ALLENTOWN, Sept. 15 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, is urging college-bound students and their parents to start looking now at the application process for financial assistance for higher education.

According to Schweyer, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid will be available to applicants beginning Oct. 1, three months earlier than in previous years. The change was made to better align the student borrowing process with actual college admissions timelines, as well as to give families the chance to use more accurate financial data when completing the form.

“This is an important date change for almost every college student,” Schweyer said. “With the ever-increasing cost of higher education, students and their families should apply at their earliest convenience so they receive the most financial assistance available to them to help pay for college.”

The FAFSA is used to determine eligibility for state and federal aid programs such as the Pennsylvania State Grant and work-study employment, Pell grants, Perkins loans and Stafford loans. Many colleges also use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for school-based aid such as private grants and need-based scholarships. Beginning the application process earlier in the school year will allow students and families to meet the various deadlines set by colleges and universities.

Schweyer noted there are other resources available to students as they prepare for college. The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency developed a free online resource and interactive tool, www.MySmartBorrowing.org, which guides students through the many decisions that must be made in advance of college.

The FAFSA form can be filled out online at https://fafsa.gov.

Schweyer said his office is available to help the constituents of his legislative district navigate the higher education process.