Every year, the U.S. Department of Education gives over $120 billion in federal grants, loans and work-study funds to more than 13 million college students, making it the largest provider of student financial aid in the country.
October 1st is the first day that students can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as the FAFSA, in order to receive their share of these funds for the 2019-2020 school year.
What students may not know is that a large portion of financial aid in the United States is distributed on a rolling basis, meaning the sooner you apply, the better your chances of reviving generous aid.
"October 1st is the day that the FAFSA form opens for the next academic period, and it's a little bit of a first-come-first-served system," Nicole Straub, Vice President at Discover Student Loans tells CNBC Make It. "So we really encourage not only that all families fill out the FAFSA but that they do so right away."
If you're planning to attend college next year, here's why you need to fill out the FAFSA: