The 2013–2014 FAFSA was released on January 1st.
If you’re unfamiliar with the FAFSA, it’s the first form all college applicants must complete in order to be eligible for financial aid from federal, state, and college sources. Fastweb.com has some solid info on it—click here to check it out.
An important point: you should not wait to complete the FAFSA until you've received your admissions decisions. Most colleges have financial aid deadlines that are prior to their notification dates.
It's critical to submit the FAFSA—as well as any other aid forms that your colleges require—prior to their deadlines and your home state’s financial aid deadline. Doing so will allow you to be eligible for the maximum funds.
(Note: if one of your colleges does not provide a financial aid deadline but instead awards aid on a first-come, first-served basis, you’ll want to fill out the FAFSA and the school’s other required forms ASAP. However, you shouldn't rush through this process.)
Check out this resource for some helpful tips on applying for financial aid. For comprehensive advice on how to get the most money possible through this process, check out the book Paying for College Without Going Broke.