FAFSA: Six reasons to fill out the form that you might not know about
“Filling out forms is awesome!” said no one ever. But at least with the FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), there can be some really big benefits. So it’s worth completing and submitting your form, even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for financial aid.
Need some convincing? According to Nancy Goodman of College Money Matters, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping high school students and their families make informed decisions about applying, choosing and paying for college – here are six good reasons to fill out the FAFSA which you may not even know about:
- Most scholarships, grants and financial aid providers – including colleges – require the FAFSA. The FAFSA influences a wide range of sources for college money. It’s used to determine whether someone is eligible for federal student loans, Pell Grants, and work-study. It’s also necessary when applying for state funding and for many private scholarships, as well. Plus – and this is important – many colleges use it when considering their scholarship and financial aid offers.
- The FAFSA is used to determine how much aid you’ll be offered. The U.S. Department of Education uses your completed FAFSA form to estimate how much you and your family can afford to pay for college. That number is then used by colleges and other sources (like scholarship and grant providers) to help decide how much to offer you.
- There are no income restrictions. No one is too rich or poor to apply. And with the number of funding opportunities the FAFSA can lead to, it only makes sense to complete and submit your form. Remember that borrowing from the government will probably be at a lower rate
- Financial aid sources are limited, so send in the form as early as possible. It’s best to apply as early as possible after October 1. The reason: in some cases, such as state funding, there’s only a limited amount of money to offer. In addition, some aid sources work on a “first come, first served” basis – so do your best to be toward the front of the line.
- New changes have made applying easier. Recent revisions have made the FAFSA simpler to complete online and more accommodating for students from non-traditional families. It is also now more accessible to those with special needs or other challenges.
- You should never pay for filling out the FAFSA. If you see a service that charges you money to help with your FAFSA – don’t go near it. That’s fraud. Just remember, it’s the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
For more helpful information, use this link. It takes you to an interactive presentation about the FAFSA process and a downloadable calendar of important FAFSA-related due dates, both developed by College Money Matters.