What is the FAFSA?

If your student is college bound, “FAFSA” will soon become part of your vocabulary. FAFSA is an acronym for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid: a form filled out by families of college-bound students. This form helps the federal government estimate how much financial aid your student is eligible to receive. Eligibility for the Pell Grant and Stafford loans is determined by filing the FAFSA. Some colleges require the FAFSA before students qualify for any scholarships from their institution.

How It Works

The FAFSA uses your family tax information to determine financial aid eligibility. Using your annual income (based off the previous year’s tax forms), the federal government determines how much aid your student will receive for the following academic year.

When It’s Due

For each academic year, the FAFSA comes available October 1st. For the 2019-2020 year, for example, the FAFSA came available October 1, 2019, and is based on your tax filings for 2018. June 30th is the deadline to have this completed, but many states have earlier deadlines, and most scholarships are awards on a first-come-first-served basis, so plan on completing this early.

An Important Note

Remember how the FAFSA is based on your annual income? For many middle-class families, this poses a significant problem. In most cases, these families’ annual income is too high for their student to receive much financial aid from the government, but it is also too low for them to afford to pay cash for tuition. This is why it can be important to dual enroll, use AP or CLEP testing, scholarship search, and study for standardized tests! Practicing these principles is the surest way to save money in college, achieving a degree without breaking the bank.

To get more answers about FAFSA, visit their site at Fafsa.ed.gov.

Questions? Email [email protected].