Everything you need to know about the FAFSA
April 10, 2018
Addressing some frequently asked questions about financial aid
Financial aid can seem complicated and a painstaking process to complete - you might not understand how to even start. However, it's important to understand the deadlines and types of funding that could help you pay for your education. With National Financial Literacy Month in full swing, here's the information you need to know in order to make your financial aid application process a smooth one.
Q: What is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and how do I apply for it?
A: The FAFSA is completed once a year by prospective and current students pursuing post-secondary education. It allows them to apply for federal grants, loans, and work-study funds. This money is provided by the U.S. Department of Education, with the amounts allotted varying by each individual's financial situation.
You have an option to complete the FAFSA online or in paper form, but the preferred version is through the web-based format because it includes step-by-step guides for each question and built-in error checking. By doing it online, you'll receive your Student Aid Report sooner than using the paper format. Before you sit down to apply, make sure you have all the necessary documents on-hand.
Q: Are there any deadlines I need to keep in mind?
A: Yes, the FAFSA for the 2017-2018 year is open application up until June 30, 2018, while the FAFSA for the 2018-2019 academic year closes June 30, 2019. If you're not ready to file a FAFSA form, but are curious about the aid you could potentially receive, you can use the FAFSA4caster to give you an early estimate.
Each state has deadlines that vary, depending on the state you live in. Check with our Financial Aid office in regards to determining the specific deadlines on receiving financial aid information. Some schools request financial aid information earlier than others, and you don't want to miss the boat on this.
Q: Where can I look for scholarships?
A: There are a wide variety of scholarships available for students. Scholarships are based upon your merit or background. Merit-based scholarships are usually based on academic achievement or a special skill or talent. Other scholarships are based on specific groups of people, such as women, military families, high school juniors, etc.
You can find scholarships by scouring the Internet, contacting your high school guidance counselor for resources or information on potential scholarships, or talking with our financial aid office.