HOUSTON - As students are getting ready to head back to school, it's time to think about how you'll pay for college.
Students can begin to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA form, in October.
Experts say there are some secrets to filling out the form to maximize a student's potential for financial aid.
The College Funding Service Center offers classes in college financial planning and says some assets don't have to be reported.
"They’re going to have shortcuts you can use, like IRS data retrieval. Don’t use that because it’s going take all those investments, and put that into your FAFSA," said Kevin Roark, a Certified College Planner with the Founders Group and College Funding Service Center.
Another secret: you may want to move money in the student's savings account to the parent's savings account, because the FAFSA formula assumes students can spend 20% of assets on college, but only 5.64% for parents.
Students can also appeal a financial award, and use another college's offer letter to negotiate.