Paying for college may cost a lot less than you think thanks to scholarships and financial aid, and the first step starts with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Simply put, fill out the form and earn free money for college.
Based on FAFSA applications, students receive over $120 billion of funding each year. The application opened in October, but if you hurry, you still have time to fill out the form.
Colleges and universities use this application to determine scholarships and other aid they will provide to students in the upcoming year. The earlier you submit your FAFSA, the more money your child may receive.
Here’s what you need to complete the FAFSA:
- Student’s Social Security Number (SSN)
- Parents’ SSN if they have one
- Income information from 2019 tax records
- Information about untaxed income (like child support and interest income)
- Record of savings and checking account balances
- List of colleges that interest the student
Available College Funding:
- Grants: Awards based on financial need, which aren’t repaid.
- Scholarships: Awards based on financial need or special talents such as athletic ability or high grades. Scholarships do not need to be repaid.
- Work-study: Part-time work, often on campus, which may relate to the student’s field of studies.
- Loans: A variety of loans exist, and this money must be repaid.
Because many families experienced severe financial implications from COVID-19, you can also discuss this impact with the college or university your child plans to attend. Additional help may be available.
One more thing, it’s important to check the status of the application once you fill it out. Sometimes, students are asked to verify the information they provided. Don’t worry. This process is very common. You can find more details about this in the Arizona GEAR UP Senior Launch Guide.
Lastly, we know it takes time to fill out the FAFSA, but it’s time well spent. If you have questions, your GEAR UP coaches are here to help. Don’t forget, more than 70% of the careers out there today require training after high school, and college graduates earn more than twice as much as those with a high school diplomat. So, GEAR UP for success!