Each year at this time, families find themselves completing at least one, if not two, financial aid forms for college scholarships. The forms may seem daunting but without them, no aid will be forthcoming.
To apply for federal student aid, you need to complete the FAFSASM or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Completing and submitting the FAFSA application is free and quick, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school. In addition, many states and colleges use your FAFSA data to determine your eligibility for state and school aid, and some private financial aid providers may use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for their aid.
Why should I fill out the FAFSA Application?
If you don’t fill out the FAFSA application, you could be missing out on a lot of financial aid! I’ve heard a number of reasons students think they shouldn’t complete the FAFSA. Here are a few:
- “I (or my parents) make too much money, so I won’t qualify for aid.”
- “Only students with good grades get financial aid.”
- “The FAFSA is too hard to fill out.”
- “I’m too old to qualify for financial aid.”
The reality is, EVERYONE should fill out the FAFSA!
When do I fill out the FAFSA?
The FAFSA becomes available in early January each year, and there are different deadlines for different programs.
|Aid Program||Deadline Information|
|Federal student aid||For the 2015–2016 year, you can apply between Jan. 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016. However, there are a few first come, first served federal student aid programs, so be sure to apply as soon as you can.|
|State student aid||You can find state deadlines at www.fafsa.gov.|
|College or career school aid||Check the school’s website or contact its financial aid office. School deadlines are usually early in the year (often in February or March).|
|Other financial aid||Some programs other than government or school aid require that you file the FAFSA application. For instance, you can’t get certain private scholarships unless you’re eligible for a Federal Pell Grant—and you can’t find out whether you’re eligible for a Pell Grant unless you file a FAFSA. If the private scholarship’s application deadline is in early to mid-January, you’ll need to submit your FAFSA before that deadline.|
As you can see, it’s a good idea to file the FAFSA as soon as it’s available so you don’t miss out on anything.
You must fill out the FAFSA every year you’re in college in order to stay eligible for federal student aid.
If you have any other questions about selecting a college, or the admissions process, feel free to contact me through my website at www.Prep4CollegeNow.com or call me at 760.877.7200. I’d love to answer your questions!
Andrea K. Frimmer, M. Ed.
Prep 4 College Now, Inc.