By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Figuring out how to pay for college is a daunting task, so start soon to make sure to maximize your chances to get grants or free money.

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Students must complete the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, to get Pell Grants. Even if you think you might not qualify, you must complete this form if you will need loans for tuition. Check out information, deadlines and requirements at FAFSA.ed.gov.

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Students of need may also apply for the Pennsylvania State Grant for free money for school. First you must complete FAFSA. Then, check out PHEAA.org for more information.

Applications must be made to both each year after January 1. Do that as soon as possible; funds are distributed on a first come, first served basis.

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Don’t miss out on getting the grants or free money you need to help pay for college. Apply for FAFSA and PHEAA today and relax. At first, everyone is nervous and confused.