SAN DIEGO - Classes at San Diego State University began Monday for many students, but thousands of high school seniors are already preparing their applications in hopes of attending SDSU next year.
Financial aid is one part of the application process many potential students will have to figure out. SDSU junior Taewook Ahn said the complex process took a toll on his dad.
"I could see he was stressed out," Ahn said. "It's money; money makes people stressed out."
But it wasn't so much paying for Ahn to attend SDSU that made for the stress -- it was putting together all of the financial and tax information for a federal student loan application, or FAFSA.
There's a big change coming this year that could arm students with more information as they get ready to decide where to go to college.
The Department of Education is going to open its financial aid application system on Oct. 1, three months earlier than in years before. It's supposed to make the process simpler for families, and applicants can now use tax returns from previous years, instead of waiting until filing in January or estimating income.
"If you find out three months in advance, then you'll be more educated," Ahn said.
Students who apply early often get first dibs on financial aid and any available scholarships.