Applying with FAFSA Even if You Think You’re Ineligible

March 8, 2012

Anyone can apply for federal aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. So even if you think that you make too much money or that you won’t qualify for any grants, you should still apply. Any small amount can help your financial aid package. There are also other options that you possibly can qualify for even if you don’t meet the requirements for grants, such as low interest loans, which are much better than private loans. In addition, most colleges require that you complete a FAFSA if you are considering financial aid opportunities from your university.

The FAFSA form is only six pages long and can be completed online. There are a total of 153 questions, which can be intimidating but most of these questions won’t necessarily apply to you and you can skip any that don’t apply. Just by filling out this application, you open up the opportunity to receive Pell Grants, federal work-study programs, and federal subsidized student loans, which will have better repayment and flexibility options. There are also nine student aid programs and 605 state aid programs that are based on FAFSA.

The U.S. Department of Education opens FAFSA applications on January 1st each year. The federal deadline is June 30th. Since most aid is provided on a first-come, first-serve basis, it’s important that families get their applications in before this date, even by March 1st, depending on the college’s deadlines which are often earlier than the federal deadline. With the rising student debt in the U.S., it’s important to exhaust every option before getting a loan.

You can also look up the deadline date by going to FAFSA’s website and looking at a list of states and deadlines, as these will be different from state to state. Both the parent and student should fill out the FAFSA together to make sure that you don’t miss any part of the application. You should be careful to report your earnings and income as best you can and make sure that you have copies of your tax forms, in case you need to verify your sources as sometimes it is requested during the process..

You can find a variety of tips and advice through FAFSA and its help section.

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