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Nitro Knowledge. Your Guide to Paying for College.


Most high school counselors recommend that students apply to five to eight colleges. In 2017, US News and World Report found that the average application fee was $43, and the most common fee was $50. So yeah, those costs can add up quickly. 

But there’s good news: you can request application fee waivers if your financial situation meets certain criteria. Your first step is to meet with your high school guidance counselor. 

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Guess-timating how much financial aid you'll get for college is super hard. In fact, most people are way off in their  guesses, as we'll explain in a minute. But when your financial future is on the line, it's important to be as accurate as possible.

So if you're looking for some hard numbers to work with, here's your cheat sheet: The average financial aid amount was about $8,500 for students who filed the FAFSA in the 2015-16 academic year. Let's take a closer at how financial aid shakes out for most people.

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Should you fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) even if you think you won't qualify for aid? Do you need to reapply every year? Is the FAFSA even worth your time? Most importantly, are you holding FAFSA misconceptions that are costing you money?

Take the quiz below to test your FAFSA IQ.

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In your haste to fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), it's easy to make a mistake or leave out important information. But if you realize after the fact that you've made an error, all is not lost.

There are three ways to correct a mistake on you FAFSA form:

  1. Get in touch with the school.
  2. Update your information online, or
  3. File an appeal.

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If you’re planning on attending college next fall, be on the alert: the time to file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is as close to October 1, 2018 as possible.

While technically you can complete your FAFSA anytime through summer of 2020, in the financial aid world, the early bird gets the worm. There are three due dates you’ll need to keep an eye on:

  • The federal due date
  • Your school’s due date, and
  • The state’s due date.

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The FAFSA form (a.k.a., the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) — the application required to qualify for financial aid — is changing yet again. If you're applying for financial aid this year, you'll want to understand these changes in order for the process to go smoothly. 

A quick overview:

  • A new, higher income limit to qualify for a zero Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • A  redesigned website that will hopefully make it easier to complete the form on a variety of devices, and
  • Faster, in-form error notifications.
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