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Time to friend the FAFSA


Sallie Mae assist students with videos, tips and online chat

RESTON, Va., Basking in the glory of having finally submitted college applications to your dream school, safety school, and a few others? Wait, thereís more. Itís time to get your financial house in order, too, and that means the FAFSA should be at the top of your list, says Sallie Mae, the only financial services company specializing in education.

Universally dreaded by college-bound students and their parents as a time-consuming and tedious financial chore, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is nevertheless a must-do for students looking to tap not only federal aid but also most state aid offerings. To help make it easier for students, Sallie Mae offers free tips and how-to videos at

Sallie Mae will host an online chat with members of the Financial Planning Association to answer your money questions on how to save the most for education and live by other smart money habits. The free chat, open to the public, takes place on Thursday, Jan. 27, from 9 to 10 p.m. EST. To participate in the live chat with Certified Financial Planners, visit

According to a national study from Sallie Mae and Gallup, 28 percent of families did not submit the FAFSA last academic year. Half said they did not complete the form because they were not aware or did not think they would qualify for aid.

While the form for the 2011-2012 academic year asks virtually the same 100-plus personal and financial questions as in the past, the Department of Education and IRS have made the form easier: beginning Jan. 30, families may transfer 2010 tax form data from the IRS to the FAFSA form.

Though the FAFSA requires students and parents to submit the information using 2010 tax information, families can use their 2009 tax info or other best estimate to get started and then later update the form once 2010 taxes have been filed. This is important particularly because the IRS has recently announced that some taxpayers will need to wait till mid-to-late February to submit their tax forms because of recent changes to the tax code passed by Congress.

Now through the end of January, you are invited to post tips for completing the FAFSA and successfully managing your money and enter a weekly drawing for top tech gadgets. Visit Sallie Mae on Facebook at to learn how to enter a weekly drawing for a chance to win an iPad (now through Jan. 16), Sony VAIO laptop (Jan.17-23) or Samsung 40-inch 3D TV (Jan. 24-30).

FAFSA deadlines differ by state, with the earliest on Feb. 15 in Connecticut, quickly followed by California, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland and Michigan in early March, to name a few.

Note: Smart Money Tips giveaway requires no purchase. Void where prohibited. For a complete set of sweepstakes rules, visit

SLM Corporation (NYSE: SLM), commonly known as Sallie Mae, is the nationís only financial services company specializing in education. Sallie Maeís saving programs, planning resources and financing options have helped more than 31 million people make the investment in higher education. The company manages or services more than $236 billion in education loans and serves 11 million student and parent customers. Its affiliate Upromise Investments, Inc., manages $27 billion in 529 college savings plans, and members of Upromise by Sallie Mae have earned more than $575 million in rewards to help pay for college. Sallie Mae offers services to a range of institutional clients, including colleges and universities, student loan guarantors and state and federal agencies. More information is available at SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.


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