Not everyone can afford to go to college after high school. With the high fee structure of colleges, nowadays, not even the higher-income families can afford to pay the fees of their children. This is where financial aid can come to your rescue.
Every year, the educational department dispenses more than $150 billion to about 13 million students for different purposes like work-study awards, loans, and federal grants. If you want to know if your child is eligible for this grant, all you have to do is apply to the FAFSA application and find out.
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Eligibility of Filling the FAFSA Form
As the US educational department offers federal student aid programs, the FAFSA application is for college-bound teens and their parents to fill out which would enable them to attend college. This federal student’s aid covers all school-related expenses that include books, room and board, fees and tuition, transportation, and all other supplies.
As FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, it’s to help all students get a college education. Many of the families that have a higher income coming into their homes don’t apply for the FAFSA because they think they don’t qualify for it. Well, as the student aid is created for all types of students from all backgrounds, you won’t know who’s eligible to try unless you try.
This is a big mistake you’re making. Filling out this form is a good option. This is because many colleges and in different states use this FAFSA form to determine the qualification for merit-based awards and grants which is beyond the federal level.
Other than providing aid to struggling students, the FAFSA form also serves many other purposes like filling this form is also a requirement to take out federal loans that have benefits that completely differ from private loans like having flexible repayment plans and fixed interest rates.
When you apply for this aid, you have nothing to lose, even if you don’t get the financial aid, you still can take advantage of other benefits.
How to Initiate FAFSA?
The federal student aid has an official site where you required to create an account and get access to your FSA ID. After that, you’ll be able to enter different educational departments that include the FAFSA application form on the studentaid.gov.
If you plan on signing the form and other documents electronically, the parents and students all have to make their FSA IDs. In order to apply for the 2022 and 2023 years, here are the things that you need to gather. Just prepared early so you don’t encounter any delays:
- Your 2020 and 2021 tax returns and W-2 forms.
- Asset records (property investments, investment accounts, savings accounts, etc.)
- Untaxed income records (collection of child support, income interest, etc.)
For the last two, you have to submit information from the date that you fill the form and not from the tax return. When filling up the form, both the parents and the student also required to supply their driver’s license (if applicable) and their social security numbers.
When you’re filling out the FAFSA form, you’re required to list the schools you’re considering on the application. Some states also require you to list them in a particular order to be considered for the aid.
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Submitting the FAFSA Application
Now that you have collected all the documentation and everything’s in order, you just have to fill out the form and submit it. Students and parents can either use the website form or download the application. It’s available on both, Android as well as iPhone.
You can also print out a PDF of the FAFSA form, complete it, and then mail it in. if you’re filing for the 2022 academic year, then the deadline is very close which is on 30th June. However, if you’re looking to apply for the year 2023 then, you will be an early candidate and can look forward to securing the aid. Filing for the year ahead, right after October 1st is the best time as it increases your odds because the federal works on a first come first serve basis.
Calculating Financial Aid with FAFSA
The eligibility of you securing a financial aid is dependent on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the cost of attendance at the school you’re hoping to enter, the school enrollment year, and your enrollment status.
The calculation conducted by the financial aid office of your school. They are the ones that decide how much aid you can receive. The process they undertake is:
- The staff first starts by looking at the Cost of Attendance (COA) at the college you’re applying
- After that, they consider the EFC/ Expected Family Contribution
- Then they take out the difference between the EFC and COA by eliminating the EFC amount from the COA which helps them determine the amount of financial aid you need. This is the need-based aid.
- In order to determine the non-need-based aid you’ll require. They subtract the financial aid you’ve been awarded from the COA. The non-need-based aid is provided from other sources than the FSA.
The non-need-based aid can come from other private loans, which include the TEACH Grant, Federal PLUS Loan, and Direct Unsubsidized Loans/
If you’ve submitted the FAFSA form through the web link and have provided an email, you’ll receive a link to your (SAR) Student Aid Report in about three to five days. However, if you haven’t then your FAFSA application paper copy will be sent to you by mail in about three weeks.
Deadline for the FAFSA form
If you’re going to apply for the 2022 year, the deadline is the 30th of June, which isn’t far. So, you better hurry, but your chances of securing the aid can be quite slim if you submit a form this late. However, if you’re applying for the 2023 year, then the forms will be available to fill up by the 1st of October and you can be the first one to apply to get the aid and become a college-bound student at your dream college!