9 Fast Facts about the FAFSA
Before filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), it's important to get familiar with a few facts. Remember, the FAFSA must be completed accurately and on time if you hope to obtain federal aid for college. South University is here to help with these 9 quick tips! (Financial aid is available to those who qualify)
1. Financial support is widely available.
Over $120 billion in financial aid is awarded annually by the US office of Federal Student Aid to more than 13 million eligible college students across the country.
2. Many state governments and schools use the FAFSA.
It's not just the federal government using FAFSA to determine financial aid. Many individual schools and state governments also reference the application to determine a student’s financial aid eligibility.
3. You must apply to see if you qualify.
Remember: if you don't apply, you don't qualify. Applying doesn’t mean you automatically qualify, but you won’t know what you’re eligible for if you don’t apply.
4. The FAFSA includes all types of federal student aid.
Completing your FAFSA will allow you to determine your eligibility for college grants, student loans, and work-study programs.
5. It’s best to get prepared before starting your FAFSA.
When you complete the FAFSA, the process will be smoother if you already have the following information by your side: your social security number, tax returns, records of untaxed income, bank account statements, investment records, and the names of the schools you may be attending. Creating an FSA ID before you start the application is also recommended by the Federal Student Aid office.
6. The FAFSA can take less than 30 minutes.
Filling out the FAFSA is designed to be a straightforward process. Most of the time, the FAFSA application doesn't even take a half hour, so pick a convenient time in your day and complete it!
7. Don’t rely entirely on filing the FAFSA.
In addition to applying for federal aid, you can apply for scholarships and grants from a variety of other organizations, possibly including your school. You might qualify for state aid, military education benefits, private loans, or an employer-sponsored education plan. You can also make monthly payments on your tuition. If your aid package doesn’t seem like a good fit, talk with your school's financial aid office about your concerns to see what options may be available to you.
8. You need to complete the FAFSA every year.
FAFSA is not a one-and-done deal. You’ll need to complete the full application for every year in which you will be attending college and requesting financial aid, and your eligibility and packages may vary.
9. The FAFSA becomes available each October.
In October, the FAFSA will be made available for the next school year—and the earlier you complete the FAFSA, the better. Not only is there a federal deadline each year, but colleges and states can set their own FAFSA submission deadlines. If you miss them, you may not be considered for those financial aid programs.