Uncovering the Mysterious FAFSA
It’s that time of year again! Yes, millions of students, like you, will be seeking federally funded financial assistance to reach their college goals.
So, what’s the mystery? Exactly, what is FAFSA? The acronym stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
The FAFSA is an electronic form used to determine your eligibility for student grants, work-study, and loans. The application is important because it decides whether you will receive free money, like a Federal Pell Grant, and is used by universities to distribute financial aid packages.
The comprehensive form, roughly 100 questions, asks for details about you and your family’s financial background, including income and assets. Then, the government reviews your answers to determine your expected family contribution (EFC). The amount of money you cannot afford for college is simply referred to as your NEED. Your need is used by colleges to determine financial aid awards.
Students must complete a FAFSA for every year they attend school. The form is available January 1st for the upcoming academic year. So, if you will be attending school during Fall 2011-Spring 2012, you can start filling out the form now.
Don’t wait! The government will process your FAFSA as late as the summer. However, states and schools have their own earlier timelines. Therefore, check with your schools for their financial aid deadlines and visit FAFSA’s Student Aid Deadlines for state timelines.
Last year, almost 22,000 Washington students, who met the financial eligibility requirements, did not receive the State Need Grant because Washington state did not have any money left.
Also, do not believe the myth that the FAFSA is only for low-income students. If you think you do not qualify for any financial assistance, still apply despite any misconceptions.
This year, solve the mystery. Fill out your FAFSA today! Then, leave a comment below, and tell us what you think of the process. We want to read your thoughts and concerns.