Seniors, you’re in the home stretch of your high school career and graduation will be here before you know it! I’m sure you’re counting down the days, but let’s not lose focus on some of the tasks you need to complete between now and then.
If you plan to attend college in the fall, you’ve likely applied for admission to your top colleges. But have you submitted your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) yet? If not, NOW is the time!
About the FAFSA
The FAFSA is a free government form that streamlines the college financial aid process. It’s your application for federal, state, and college-based aid, and is used to determine if you are eligible for grants, work-study, and federal student loans. Some scholarship applications require the FAFSA to be completed as well.
The 2023-24 FAFSA filing season opened on October 1, 2022. It’s always best to submit it as soon as possible, however, it’s not too late to complete the FAFSA now! Use our FAFSA checklist to gather all items needed to complete the form.
Create a Student Aid Account
Before you complete the FAFSA, both you and one parent will each need to create a student aid account at StudentAid.gov. These unique accounts contain personal information about each of you, so make sure to write down usernames and passwords and keep them safe so others can’t gain access to your private information. The accounts are used for logging into and signing the FAFSA and other financial aid tasks. You’ll need to confirm your cell phone numbers and email addresses when creating the accounts. For students, use a personal email address since you won’t have access to your high school email after graduation.
Apply Every Year
The FAFSA should be renewed yearly to determine what types and amounts of aid will be available to you for the upcoming academic year. When filling out the FAFSA, think sooner rather than later as many colleges award internal aid on a first-come, first-served basis.
- A small percentage of students are selected for verification, a mini-audit of the information you provided on your FAFSA. If selected for verification, don’t panic…it doesn’t necessarily mean that you did anything wrong. Your college will let you know if your FAFSA has been selected and inform you of the documents they request. Keep in mind: the college cannot process your financial aid offer if you do not complete the verification process!
- Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for grants, it’s always best to submit the FAFSA as you are not obligated to take on any aid that you don’t wish to.
Free Help is Available
The FAFSA has been simplified over the years, but if you have questions while filling out the form, use our FAFSA Demo to see how to complete each section.
EducationQuest also provides free assistance in filling out the FAFSA, so if you’d like our help, call the EducationQuest office nearest you. Our staff can schedule an in-person or virtual meeting with you.
As always, we’re here to help!
By Jacquie Butler