The FAFSA is a critical tool for both applying to colleges and applying to scholarships – in fact, need-based scholarships often require that you submit the FAFSA as part of your application. So, in a time of economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s surprising to learn that many low-income and minority students did not submit the FAFSA for the upcoming academic year even though they would’ve been eligible for federal aid. At Scholarships.com, we don’t want students to miss out on any form of college financial aid. Applications for the next academic year will open soon, so get prepared by reviewing these FAFSA facts.
The FAFSA is free to file. While the process of filing the FAFSA involves submitting financial information, there is no charge to file it or to create a FAFSA ID. Plus, you can access free help in filing the FAFSA both online or by phone.
There are multiple ways to file. You can use the official FAFSA website, but did you know that the FAFSA has its own mobile app for both iOS and Android devices? You can also print out a PDF of the FAFSA and mail it in.
You can preview the FAFSA before you start. The FAFSA is not like a test – you’re free to read all the questions before you begin filling it out. Go over the PDF version of the form and highlight spaces where you have questions. Make a list of all the documents and financial information that the FAFSA asks of you so you’re prepared to tackle it for real.
Filing the FAFSA gives you your Student Aid Report. Also known as the SAR, the Student Aid Report is the result of your hard work filing the FAFSA. It lets you know what financial aid opportunities you qualify for based on your or your family’s economic status – aka your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). You’ll need this information for applying for scholarships, so keep it handy!
The FAFSA connects you to more than federal student loans. It can qualify you for state and school-specific aid scholarships that you do not need to pay back, unlike student loans. Low-income students may also qualify for a Pell Grant, a federal grant that also has no financial strings attached.
You can edit your FAFSA after filing. Made a mistake on the FAFSA? It’s not the end of the world. You have time after the filing deadline to resubmit the FAFSA to correct information like social security numbers or changes in dependency status. Just make sure you re-file it before your school or state deadline in order to qualify for financial aid.
Scholarships.com encourages all students – even those who may not qualify for federal aid – to file the FAFSA this October, when the 2021-2022 application period opens. And if you are looking for more college financial aid, be sure to try a free scholarship search and get connected to need-based scholarship opportunities today.
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