Each year, families find themselves completing at least one, if not two, financial aid forms for college scholarships. The documents may seem daunting, but without them, no aid will be forthcoming. Learn how to get money for college now – FAFSA tips and understanding the financial aid package.
You need to complete the FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid to apply for federal student aid. Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free and quick, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial assistance 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 decide whether or not you qualify for their assistance.
Why should I fill out the FAFSA?
If you don’t fill out the FAFSA, you could be missing out on a lot of financial aid! I’ve heard several reasons students think they should not complete the FAFSA. Here are a few:
- “I (or my parents) make too much money so that 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 October each year, and there are different deadlines for different programs.
|Aid Program||Deadline Information|
|Federal student aid||The 2022-23 FAFSA form became available on Oct. 1, 2021. However, there are a few first-come, first-served federal student aid programs, so be sure to apply as soon as you can.
Before you can apply, the STUDENT and sometimes the PARENT must create their ID.
Go online at https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa
|State student aid||You can find state deadlines at www.fafsa.gov.|
|College (or career school) aid||For students applying for regular decision admission, filing FAFSA deadlines are usually early in the new year (often in February or March). Check the school’s website or contact its financial aid office to verify dates.
Many private colleges require the CSS profile also be completed. Check out what colleges require this form here: https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org/
IF YOUR TEEN IS APPLYING EARLY DECISION OR EARLY ACTION, THESE FORMS MAY NEED TO BE SUBMITTED TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE PRIORITY DATE. WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND CHECKING EACH COLLEGE’S WEBSITE TO VERIFY SUBMISSION DATES.
|Private Aid and Scholarships||Some programs other than government or school aid require that you file the FAFSA. For instance, you cannot get specific 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 in college to stay eligible for federal student aid.
If you have any other questions about how to get money for college including FAFSA Tips, selecting a college or the admissions process, please contact me through my website at www.Prep4collegeNow.com or call me at 760.877.7200. I’d love to answer your questions!
Andrea (Andi) K. Frimmer, M. Ed.
President, Prep 4 College Now, Inc.