The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as the FAFSA, is an application students and their families complete in order to qualify for financial aid. Once you successfully fill out the FAFSA, you’ll receive your financial aid eligibility, which ranges from scholarships, grants, work-study, and various types of loans. Grants, scholarships, and work-study are financial awards that do not need to be paid back, but they have limited pools of funding available. So applying as soon as possible gives you the best chance to secure money for school.
The FAFSA opens up for the 2022-23 school year on October 1st. So, if you’re a high school student (or a parent of one), now is the time to prepare. Below you’ll discover the benefits of the FAFSA. First, you’ll need an FSA ID, which is a fancy way of saying username/password. But don’t worry, it’s super simple, and you can create an FSA ID here.
Filing is Free
The FAFSA is completely free to fill out—Filing the FAFSA will never request a payment, so if someone asks for money, it’s a scam. The FAFSA can be completed completely online on the official FAFSA website. Once you successfully submit the FAFSA, it opens the door to over $150 Billion worth of financial aid. Wow! That’s a lot of cash.
Filing is Faster than Ever
While the FAFSA may look intimidating, on average, it takes around 30 minutes to complete. If you need help filling out the FAFSA, read up on everything you need to complete your FAFSA. That half an hour spent could result in a big contribution to your college fund. Your GEAR UP Coaches can help, too.
Don’t Leave Free Money on the Table
In 2017-18, almost $3 billion worth of financial aid went unclaimed. That could be money used towards your own education. Just last year, nearly 7 million students received a Pell Grant, which is a grant that pays up to $6,500 a school year, and the price could be even higher next year! The best part of grants? You don’t repay them, so it’s almost like free money.
Majority of Students Qualify for an Award
While you may not think you qualify for any grants or scholarships, it is still worthwhile to fill out the FAFSA, and most GEAR UP students receive grants and scholarships. Even if you decide to take out a loan, that will need to be repaid, the FAFSA may offer better rates and repayment plans than private loans.
Many Colleges Require FAFSA Completion
The colleges you want to apply to may require you to fill out the FAFSA because it helps them make decisions about their financial aid awards. Yes, that means you may get more free money from the college you attend. Also, some scholarship opportunities require a completed FAFSA as part of the process.