Whether you're a parent with a child currently in diapers or a student planning to graduate from high school fairly soon, it is worthwhile to study the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) -- a 130-question form that determines who qualifies for a piece of $150 billion in federal grants, loans and work-study funds -- well in advance.
Most families aren't able to cover the full cost of their children's college experience, which means financial aid will play at least a part of their college planning. If you're thinking about applying for financial aid for your college-aged student (or thinking ahead for a child who's got some time left to go), here are the fundamentals you need to know.
As students look forward to attending school and experiencing all that college has to offer, they may not be thinking about how to properly manage their money. Making smart financial choices while in school will not only ease the burden of college debt, but also set them up for financial success beyond graduation.