A common thing that happens with students when it comes to FAFSA, is that they automatically assume they won’t get any money, so they don’t fill it out.
This is such a misunderstanding and not a good idea because there are so many things that you need to use your FAFSA verification page and EFC number for and if you do not receive grants from FAFSA, you are usually still eligible for loans through FAFSA. Loans through FAFSA are usually a lot better deal than other loans.
Your FAFSA verification page is simply the page that shows all of your information after your FAFSA has been processed which some scholarships like to use to base your level of financial aid.
Your EFC number is the Estimated Family Contribution which is how FAFSA gages how much money you will be receiving from your parents each year for college based on their income and financial situations.
Basically, it is your best bet to just fill out FAFSA no matter how much money or what your financial situation is. You could be losing out on thousands of dollars just because you forgot to fill it out, didn’t feel like filling out, or assumed you wouldn’t receive any money.
You can be lazy with certain things when it comes to college, but don’t be lazy and forget to fill this out because it can make a huge difference. FAFSA is also something that you can fill out every single year that you attend college, even when you are in graduate school.
I highly recommend filling it out every year you are in school as long as you are at least a part-time student. As a first-generation college student, I am paying for college entirely on my own.
This means that I had to also figure out the FAFSA and the entire financial situation of paying for school almost by myself as well.
Filling out FAFSA helped me get a little bit of money to help me pay for school as well as helping me receive scholarships through my high school and college. Here are some reasons why you should fill out FAFSA and some tips and tricks to help you along the way.
What is FAFSA?
FAFSA is the free application for federal student aid which helps you apply for financial aid for undergraduate or graduate school.
It is an online website where you put in all of you and your parents’ financial information. This is so the government can decide how much money they will give you in grants and loans to help towards your college tuition. Just to clarify, a grant is money that is similar to a scholarship.
The government or your college gives academic and special grants to students which means that they don’t have to give that money back. It is not something that they have to repay, it is simply money that is taken off of their tuition.
A loan is a sum of money that you are allowed to borrow but that you have to pay back. There are two main loans that students use which are subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Subsidized loans are loans that do not have an interest while you are in school.
In order for there not to be interest on these loans, however, you have to qualify as at least a part-time student. An unsubsidized loan is a loan where there is interest while you are still a student. You cannot get this type of loan, however, unless you fill out FAFSA.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
If you are going to have to fill out FAFSA by yourself and you don’t have any close family members or friends that have experience doing it, you should not be afraid to ask for help. Asking your high school counselor or college financial aid center is always a good idea.
More than likely they know the best ways to fill out to help you receive the most money. You would rather ask for help and do it correctly than mess something up or enter something wrong which could cause you to not get as much money or not receive any money at all.
The financial process of going to college can be very overwhelming especially when you are trying to do it on your own or you don’t have anyone with experience to help you. Once you have filled yours out, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and others who have questions or need help filling it out as well.
I also recommend filling out FAFSA as early as possible because this means that you will find out your results sooner and your information will be sent to your college sooner. This can especially help when you are trying to figure out if you will need to take out loans or not.
If you are looking for a free early estimate on federal student aid eligibility try out FAFSA4caster. It’s a free tool to use to help plan for college.
To sign up for FAFSA go to FAFSA to apply for aid.
Most scholarships that are through your high school, or from outside sources other than your college, will require you to send them your FAFSA confirmation page or give them your EFC number.
A lot of scholarship committees like to see who has an actual financial need. Especially if you are applying to scholarships that are based on academic excellence and financial need, there is no way you will receive it if you don’t have anything to show them about your financial situation.
If a scholarship committee sees that you have not filled out FAFSA they might assume that you already have enough money to pay for school. Scholarships through your school can sometimes not even be filled out until your current university has received your FAFSA.
This means that even academic grants and merit grants and scholarships cannot be awarded to you simply because you did not fill out your FAFSA. Basically, if you are planning to apply to any scholarships, your best bet is to fill out your FAFSA.
FAFSA offers several loans that have better deals involving interest rates than most others.
You definitely want to start by taking out the loans that FAFSA offers before you begin to look for others. Even if you do not receive actual grants or financial aid, odds are that you will definitely be eligible for loans.
You want to take every opportunity that you have to not pay interest while you are in school and the loans through FAFSA are one of the best ways to go about doing that.
This saves you so much money and makes life a little easier. This way you can focus more on school and your actual coursework than trying to find ways to pay for it and worrying about debt. This is the main reason why most middle class or upper-class families fill out FAFSA.
It is harder to receive actual aid unless you are working-class or have some different family or financial situation you a par of including divorce, separation, etc., however, having more opportunities for loans is always very helpful.
URL: How to apply for college scholarships
Financial Aid Through College
Most colleges will not let you apply for any grants or scholarships unless you fill out FAFSA.
FAFSA is an easy resource for schools to base scholarships off of and some scholarships are based entirely on financial aid. You could miss out on receiving merit-based and academic scholarships simply because you did not fill out your FAFSA.
If your school has one big application that instantly applies you to every scholarship and grants you are applying for, you will not be able to fill it out unless you have filled out your FAFSA.
The moral of the story is that you are always better than safe than sorry when it comes to filling out FAFSA. If worse comes to worst, you don’t receive any actual grants or aid, but you still receive a loan option admit helps you receive scholarships from your college and high school.
The Pell grant is a grant that is offered through FAFSA that can go all the way up to full tuition at certain colleges based entirely on financial aid. If you have a lower family income you may be able to receive the Pell grant, even if it is just a little bit.
You would be surprised how many people actually give these grants. The incomes that they give aid are even higher than you would normally expect. When it comes to paying for college, every little bit helps.
Overall, there are so many different reasons why you should fill out FAFSA. If you have your IRS account hooked up, it only takes about thirty minutes and it could save you so much money in the long run. After you fill it out once it saves a lot of your information and makes it easier to fill out for the years to come.
If you need any help, you can call your college or FAFSA for more information. Take the time out of your day to fill this out because odds are it will help you in more ways than you would expect.
To learn more about how college loans work check this out.