SOURCE: NextStudent

December 21, 2006 12:37 ET

NextStudent Urges Borrowers to Complete FAFSA Early to Qualify for Federal Stafford Student Loans

PHOENIX, AZ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- December 21, 2006 -- Many students neglect to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) until immediately before the required deadline, instead of getting it in as close as possible to Jan. 1, according to NextStudent, the Phoenix-based premier education funding company. Since Federal Stafford Student Loans are first distributed to those who apply for it earliest in the cycle, those who apply later may not get the funds needed to make their college dreams a reality.

Although the official deadline for submitting the FAFSA varies depending on each higher institution's location, NextStudent recommends that borrowers plan ahead and spend time during winter break preparing to fill out the form.

There are a number of things that parents and students can do to make completing the FAFSA easier. Borrowers may begin by compiling the necessary documents needed, such as tax records, driver's license, Social Security number, bank and mortgage statements and investment records. Next, it is wise to take the time to fill out the pre-application work sheet. This will ensure that questions on the actual FAFSA application are answered accurately in order to avoid mistakes that may lead to rejection.

The FAFSA also requires 2006 tax information. Parents who have not yet filed their 2006 taxes should estimate their income as accurately as possible and correct their online application once their taxes are filed. Finally, both parents and students need to apply for their own PIN or electronic signature in order to submit and sign the application online.

Those who wait until the summer to complete the FAFSA may not have the funding options they desire and may not receive what they need for the new school year. However, those early FAFSA applicants who complete the form shortly after Jan. 1 will be in a position to apply for such specific federal financial aid as Stafford student loans in May and receive them shortly thereafter.

A Stafford student loan should be one of the first considerations for eligible borrowers when reviewing funding choices. The low fixed rate is 6.8 percent, there is no credit check or collateral required, and payments are delayed until after graduation. Government-secured Stafford student loans are one of the many federal funding options offered by NextStudent, and are a wise, low-cost way to finance a college education.

There are many benefits of a NextStudent Federal Stafford Student Loan, including an upfront cash rebate of 2 percent. When borrowers select the Auto-Debit repayment option, they are entitled to a .375 percent reduction in interest. In addition, after 30 months of consecutive on-time payments, borrowers earn a 3% cash rebate on the remaining principal balance when using Auto-Debit.

When student borrowers plan ahead and get in their FAFSA early and apply for Stafford student loans through NextStudent, they put themselves in the perfect position to receive the funds they need for their college education.

About NextStudent

NextStudent, federal lender code 834051, is dedicated to helping students and their families find affordable ways to pay for college. NextStudent offers one-on-one education finance counseling and has a portfolio of highly competitive education finance products and services including a free online scholarship search engine, federally guaranteed parent and student loans, private student loans, both federal and private student loan consolidation programs, and college savings plans.

The NextStudent Scholarship Search Engine, one of the nation's oldest and largest scholarship search engines, is updated daily, available free of charge, completely private -- and represents 2.4 million scholarships worth $3.4 billion.

For more information about NextStudent and its student loan programs, please visit the company's Web site at http://www.nextstudent.com/.

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