When searching for college scholarships, it is likely that you will come across FAFSA. This acronym stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and it is a form that is required by the government if you plan to apply to any of the federal education aid programs. The information that is provided on the FAFSA form will be used to determine what, if any, contribution will be made by your family in terms of funding your college education.
How is the Information on the FAFSA Form Used?
For each student that applies for college financial aid through the U.S. government, an amount of family contribution is calculated this holds true even if the family will not be contributing the stated amount.
In analyzing the data regarding your family’s financial situation, the FAFSA form is also used in determining which specific student aid programs may be used for your total financial aid package, as well as in what proportions. The information provided is oftentimes utilized by colleges and universities, too, in the determination of any other types of grants and/or scholarships that you may qualify for.
How to Fill Out the FAFSA Form
There are several ways to file your FAFSA. First, you can complete and submit a paper application by mail. Typically, the forms that you need may be printed directly from the Internet. You could also submit the application online via the U.S. Department of Education’s website. Alternatively, there are some fee-based services available as well that can help you to prepare and electronically file the application.
It is a good idea to compile all of the necessary information in one place prior to filling out your application. This will save a great deal of time when actually going through the process. In most cases, it will take one or two hours to go through all of the application information.
It is important to fill out your FAFSA application as early as you possibly can, so be sure to check on financial aid deadlines and/or the preferred application filing dates, and get your form in prior to that time. Because most student financial aid is limited as well as the fact that it’s awarded on a first-come, first-served basis there is even more reason to be timely with your FAFSA filing. In addition, even if you filled out an application for the previous school year, it is necessary to file a FAFSA each year, as the information from a previous year will not carry over.
Is Filling Out a FAFSA Necessary?
In order for you to gain consideration for any of the numerous types of federal student financial aid available, it is necessary to fill out a FAFSA even if you think that you may not qualify based on the amount of your family’s income.
Many people don’t realize that regardless of their family’s income amount, there are still numerous types of financial aid available. And, because it is free to apply, it makes sense to fill out the application, as doing so could mean the difference between obtaining funding or having to pay the tab for college out-of-pocket.