CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is reminding college-bound students to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which he says is a necessary part of qualifying for financial assistance.

While some agencies may charge for filling out the necessary paperwork, students can do it themselves for free, Morrisey said.

“Many students rely on financial assistance to help cover the ever-rising cost of college,” Morrisey said in a statement. “It’s important for students not to be taken advantage of at a time when they’re seeking help.”

The application period opened Oct. 1 as opposed to the traditional Jan. 1 start date. Students are encouraged to file as soon as possible for states, colleges and scholarship programs that award aid on a first-come, first-serve basis.

West Virginia students have until spring to apply for state aid. Specifically, the Promise Scholarship deadline expires March 1, and the state’s Higher Education Grant Program deadline expires April 15.

The earlier application window enables students to use 2015 tax information to complete the 2017-18 form as opposed to waiting for figures from their 2016 tax return.

Students will be asked for personal information when filling out their FAFSA. To avoid compromising sensitive information, like Social Security number and other personally identifiable information, students should verify the validity of the recipient.

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