DENVER (CBS4) – Filling out a tax return can be difficult for an adult. Imagine filling out government forms as a high school senior looking for financial aid for college. January is the month students start applying for help.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms are complicated. More students than ever need financial aid to attend college. The FAFSA forms require time. Students need to know their parents’ income, how much, if any, they have saved for college. Being late or having an error on a FAFSA form can cost the student thousands of dollars in financial aid.

Tayler Fleming at East High School has been accepted at Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado. Now she needs to determine how she can afford to attend college.

“I’m worried about financial stuff, like getting organized, because I’m on my own,” Fleming said.

The online form will determine Fleming’s financial future in college. It plugs her parents’ income, their savings and her savings into a formula, which will then calculate how much financial aid she’ll get to start college in the fall.

“It’s pretty stressful,” she said.

School counselors try to guide students as they tackle the daunting task of applying for financial aid.

“It’s important to fill out the FAFSA on time because students and families can miss out on financial aid from the colleges,” a counselor at East High School said.

Students are trying to make their college dreams come true one complicated FAFSA form at a time.

The FAFSA forms are online and free to fill out. Be careful because there are similar websites that ask students to pay a fee. Also the sooner the FAFSA forms are filed, the better chances of getting financial aid.

Links: FAFSA | FAFSA Workshops


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