People planning to enroll in college this year are being urged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, soon.

The form is the first step toward determining eligibility for federal, state and institutional financial aid.

Emma Brown with Louisville’s 55,000 Degrees initiative said many people leave money on the table by not filling out the form, thinking they’re not eligible for aid.

“They believe their parents make too much money, their grades aren’t good enough or that they’re too old,” she said. “But in fact, neither grades nor age are criteria, and income is a factor that may be offset by the number of children in your family, for example.”

She said it’s important for students in Kentucky to act quickly. It’s one of the few states where federal aid is distributed on a first-come, first served basis.

“The faster students act to get their FAFSA filled out, the more likely they are to receive state aid, as well,” she said.

Those needing assistance filling out the FAFSA form can get help at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the University of Louisville’s Ekstrom Library and at 6 p.m. Thursday at  Jeffersontown High School.

The free FAFSA form is available at

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."