Why All College Students Should Apply To FAFSA

Updated: Feb 2

Natalie Applegate

Blog Contributor

Applying for financial aid might seem like a daunting task, but fear not. It might be the best gift you give to yourself this year. So, what exactly is FAFSA, and how can it help you?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form you fill out to apply for the federal government to help with college and tuition expenses. The money you qualify for is disbursed directly to your school. And, it's just one click away online - so make the time!

Check out these top reasons why you should begin your online FAFSA application today.

You Will Receive Forgivable And Cheap Loans

When you apply to FAFSA, you are applying for forgivable and very low-

interest student loans - one of the best available to students. The interest rates on FAFSA loans range from only 3%-7% roughly.

Applying online for the loan can also help parents receive the federal parents PLUS loan, which can also help pay for college. Simply applying is the first step.

You Will Probably Qualify

In fact, most students do qualify. Online FAFSA platform CEO and founder mentions that "Aid is available for anyone with a household income of $250,000 a year." He goes on to explain why everyone should apply and that there is no such thing as being 'too rich.'

Many students opt not to apply because they think the loan will only be available to those less fortunate, but that's not the case.

Billions Are Being Left On The Table

In 2016, so many students didn't apply for FAFSA, and the results were shocking - nearly 2.7 billion dollars of free FAFSA college aid wasn't used! And in 2014, only 44% of students even attempted the application.

You're missing out on a terrific deal by not applying - you don't need to repay federal grants, and the interest rate on the loans is extremely low. Each year, billions of unused funds are left on the table.

Situations May Change

The great thing about applying to FAFSA is that you can do it every year, no matter what situation you're in. FAFSA should be a part of every application process, and even if you don't receive as much aid as you hoped you would, you can always appeal for more.

This is very helpful if your family's financial situation makes a sudden change - such as losing a job.

If your financial situation changes, your FAFSA qualifications do too. Always reapply every year.

Simply Put, It's Super Easy

According to the U.S. Department of Education's federal student aid website, the online FAFSA application takes the average student around 30 minutes to fill out.

Regardless, it costs no money to fill out the form, and it can save your family thousands. The Department of Education has also made some changes that enable you to fill out the form easily.

For example, the window for filling out the FAFSA form is three months longer than it used to be - now from October 1st through June 30th. Another change will allow students to use prior-prior-year income. It sounds complicated, but it's actually very simple.

You can now fill out the FAFSA form for the 2020-2021 academic year using 2018's income report from your 2019 tax return.

Another thing that made it easier for you is the ability to pull your family's tax info directly from the IRS using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This will not only save you time, but it will ensure reporting accuracy.

How To Apply

So, what exactly are the steps to complete the FAFSA online forms, and what can you expect during the process? Follow these steps to complete your FAFSA application in under an hour.

Gather your info such as your social security number, family income and size, personal income (if any), and a list of selected colleges you're applying for.

Create your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. This is the unique identifier that you'll use throughout your college career. Creating your FSA ID can be entirely online.

Fill out your student info after you have your FSA ID. Simply go to FAFSA.gov and begin by filling out the student demographics section. Input the schools you are applying for and fill out the dependency section - this will determine if you are dependent on your parents.

Enter your parents' information even if you no longer live with them. This section will ask for mailing addresses, names, etc.

Provide all financial info - including both your income as well as your parents. You can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (as mentioned earlier), and it is readily available for you to use on your online FAFSA application.

Review, sign, and submit. Review for any mistakes, electronically sign your application, then send it! Simple as that.

Now, let's see when does FAFSA open and when its due.

FAFSA Open Date and Deadline

Verify State Deadlines here.

Final Thoughts

Just do it! FAFSA has made the online application process very simple for students and parents alike. Remember, don't procrastinate. The earlier you fill it out, the better in order to secure state and school aid.

Do you remember when we talked about billions of free assistance being left on the table annually? Financial aid can be yours, and it will make your college hustle so much easier. Get started soon on FAFSA.gov and enjoy the benefits!


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