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Why Should I Submit A FAFSA? And Other FAFSA Facts

For some of us, the college we choose may depend on the amount of aid assistance we receive. Taking the time to learn about financial aid and understanding the financial aid process will be a useful tool throughout your college career.

What is FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an online application students can submit to apply for federal, state and/or institutional aid for college.  As it states in the name, the FAFSA is a FREE Application! There is no application fee required to submit the FAFSA!

Submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can make paying for college so much easier because you can tap into aid and resources you may not have received otherwise.

You do not receive financial aid from FAFSA, it’s just the application. Aid assistance students receive from completing a FAFSA comes from the federal government, your state agency, or the college you’re looking to attend.   

How Often Should I Submit a FAFSA?

Many sources of aid assistance require that you submit the FAFSA each year you plan on being in college, in order to receive consideration.  

“The time and effort it takes to submit the FAFSA is totally worth it! You may be surprised at how much aid assistance you can receive to help pay for school,” says Jennifer Wilhelm, the Director of Financial Aid at Fisher College.

If I File a FAFSA, is it possible I could receive aid assistance in addition to my Merit Scholarship?

By submitting the FAFSA, your application will be reviewed to see if you are eligible to receive need-based aid assistance. Need-based aid will complement any merit-based scholarships you received from an institution. In many cases, you can receive thousands of additional dollars for school you wouldn’t receive otherwise.

In addition to need-based assistance, you may also qualify for Federal Work Study, which gives you the opportunity to work on campus and earn extra spending money while attending school.

When Should I Submit my FAFSA?

You can submit an FAFSA beginning on October 1st each year for the next academic year. For example, students looking to enroll in the 2022-2023 academic year can submit their FAFSA as early as October 1, 2021.  While you can submit your FAFSA after October 1st, it’s better to submit it as close to October 1 as possible in order to have the best possible chance at receiving aid. Some need-based funds are not only need-based, but are also limited, and therefore, awarded on a first come first served basis.

“Be aware of your deadlines! Many Colleges and State Agencies have FAFSA filing deadlines in order to receive Institutional and State Grant funding. Filing your FAFSA after these deadlines could result in losing thousands of extra dollars in free money for college,” says Wilhelm.


Does My Family Make Too Much Money For Me to Qualify Aid Assistance?

Not sure you qualify for aid assistance because of your family’s income level?

“Don’t believe the myth that, my parents make too much money, so I won’t qualify for any aid assistance. Every student who submits a FAFSA qualifies for Federal Student Loans, which typically have a lower interest rate than Private Education Loans. Federal Loans also have the potential to be forgiven through the Federal Government’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program,” says Wilhelm.

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