The state's free college planning service is urging high school seniors and others interested in college to consider their financial aid options this week.
For most, the first step is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA form. It determines a student's eligibility for state and federal grants.
The form requires financial information and a 2017 tax return, according to Takeila Hall of the College Foundation of North Carolina.
“Sometimes they may have questions about those things and may not be sure what the question is asking,” Hall said. “Of course, sometimes people may make small errors or careless mistakes that may make a difference when they're getting their award package, so I think families really want to make sure they're getting it right.”
The College Foundation of North Carolina is offering free, in-person assistance Saturday morning for those who want some help filling out the form.
Governor Roy Cooper has declared this to be Financial Aid Awareness Week.
Hall said anyone who's even thinking about going to college next summer or fall should fill out a FAFSA form sooner rather than later.
“For students who are thinking, 'I'm not sure I can go to college because I'm not sure I'll have the finances to go,' having a family complete the FAFSA, it takes out all the guesswork as far as what I can and cannot receive,” she said.