You are a senior in high school trying to balance your coursework with your extracurricular activities. On top of that, you enrolled in an AP course and you are planning for college. Thoughts of what next step to take, the major you want to study or perhaps you’re aiming for the Ivy League colleges like many students.
The last thing you may be thinking of is filling out and submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid also known as FAFSA. No! It should be the first thing on your mind right now. This is the only way to get access to over $140 billion which is available student aid from the federal government, thereby reducing the debt that should have accumulated after graduation, as a result of taking student loans. For some students, this could be the only means to pay their way through school. It is important because if you fail to apply for this aid, there won’t be any money to depend on. For students that are unable to pay fees out of pocket and thinking of involving themselves with student loans, it can quickly add up to your debt even after graduation.
Bridging the gap in the cost of education
As the name implies, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is absolutely free. Everyone should fill out this form, because there’s nothing to lose, with so much to gain. See this! From 2015 to 2016 school sessions alone, there was about $3 billion left unused in the federal grant money. The Federal Student Financial Aid seems to be the only achievable way to bridge the gap in the overall cost of education. However, you can’t apply directly for the federal financial aid. The federal government will determine your eligibility status for the aid, this is why you have to fill out this application form. Also, the schools, state government, and other institutions in the financial sector will use the information you provide in this FAFSA application to determine your eligibility for other student aids that are not federal grants.
Why is this news so important?
Why this message is coming to you now is because much of this financial aid that is given out via your FAFSA details is handed out on the basis of first come, first serve. This means that the earlier you start with your registration, the better chances you will get to receive larger benefits. As a matter of fact, the process timeline for the application has changed, making out time to set other things in place. Before now, this application used to be on the first of January, but this year, the process for this financial aid application process started October 1, giving you an extra three months for the application. This change will also benefit every high school senior. You now have the power to see your financial aid package prior to your selection of a college, giving you the convenience of shopping around for the best deal available.
Filling out this form is the first step to accessing federal aid for career schools, colleges, or universities. This federal student aid offers about $150 billion in loans, work-study funds, and grants each year. But to get any of that money, you have to fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Aid. Not to mention, some scholarship, schools, and states also make use of the FAFSA for awarding financial aid especially need based aid. So do yourself a favour, find time this week to meet with your parents and gather important tax documents so that you can be one of the first to be eligible for your share of the $140 billion available in student financial aid.
Olivia Williams, the owner of Kampus Insights, offers private college counselling services in southern Brevard, Florida. She is also the author of Kampus Insights to the Max: A 5 year Plan for college success.