PITTSBURGH, February 8, 2008 – – State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana today urged college-bound students to complete and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible.

“The cost of college can be very daunting,” Fontana said. “I urge students and their families to explore all prospective grant and loan programs.”

While the deadline for submitting the FAFSA to determine eligibility for a Pennsylvania State Grant is May 1, Fontana urged students to file their FAFSA application as soon as possible to ensure meeting all other financial aid deadlines.

The FAFSA is used to determine if students qualify for need-based financial aid, including the Pennsylvania State Grant, federal Pell Grant, and many other scholarships, institutional awards, and low-cost student loans.

In December, Fontana said the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency mailed a FAFSA on the Web Worksheet to each Pennsylvania high school senior who took the SAT or ACT test in their junior year.

Fontana said students can visit www.pheea.org/fafsa for more information on how to complete and submit the FAFSA. Forms can also be obtained and submitted online at www.fafsa.ed.gov and www.educationplanner.org.