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      Uncle Sam lending money to future students

      Senior year is a busy and exciting time for students.

      From submitting college applications to homecoming and prom, the list goes on.

      But some may not have thought about the stressful part, getting their financial aid forms.

      "Students and families are faced with tough decisions during these hard economic times," said Sandra Tovar of Harlingen CISD.

      The transition from high school to college is hard enough.

      Add in the stress of tuition and you've got a double whammy.

      For some the answer is financial aid.

      "We equate it to a pot of money and we tell students that at the very beginning. January first that pot is full of money. As time goes, the less money that is available to them," said Tovar.

      Time is limited when applying for the government provided funds and several steps must be completed.

      "Once the parents have completed their income taxes, then they can start the FAFSA application," said Tovar.

      The FAFSA or Free Application for Student Aid, must be filled out and submitted to be considered for monies.

      The cash is given to students based on several factors, not just economic need.

      "They look at how many children are in the family, do they have other siblings or a parent in college," said Tovar.

      Filling out the form sooner than later, is recommended.

      FAFSA website: