The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an application submitted to the federal government. It’s basically a snapshot of your financial situation. The information you submit on your FAFSA is used to determine how much federal and state financial aid you may be able to receive to help you pay for college.
Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for financial aid, submit your FAFSA anyway. It’s not uncommon for students to assume they won’t qualify, only to be pleasantly surprised to find that they are eligible to receive one or more types of aid. Keep in mind that many scholarship applications now require a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR), which is the report you receive after you submit your FAFSA.
By submitting the FAFSA, you’re not automatically signing up for student loans or committing to any colleges. You’re simply giving the college(s) you’re interested in attending an opportunity to discuss your financial aid options with you. So be sure to fill out the 2018-19 FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1 this year. Visit FAFSA.gov for more information.
If you’ve visited the FAFSA website lately, you may have noticed there are two applications available: 2016-2017 and 2017-2018. So, which one do you need if you’re taking summer classes? Here’s what you need to know.
Financial aid is determined one year at a time, and follows your school’s academic calendar. Most schools start the academic year in the fall, and the following summer is the end of the year. In this case, your summer financial aid is a “trailer” for the 2016-2017 academic year; you would need to complete the 2016-2017 FAFSA to help pay for summer 2017 classes.
However, some institutions begin their academic year with the summer semester and the following spring is the end of the year. In this case, your summer financial aid is considered a “header” for the 2017-2018 academic year; you would need to complete the 2017-2018 FAFSA to help pay for summer 2017 classes.
All it takes is a quick email, phone call, or visit to your school’s financial aid office to confirm which FAFSA is needed for summer courses. Make sure you check in with them as soon as possible. The last day to submit your 2016-2017 FAFSA is June 30, 2017.
Once you know which FAFSA you need, head over to FAFSA.gov to complete the application!
You may have heard one or more of the following myths that are common in the world of college financial aid. We’ll tell you the real story.
Myth #1: If I didn’t submit my FAFSA last fall, it’s too late for me to apply for financial aid for the coming academic year.
Fact: You may be surprised to learn that you can submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2017-18 school year through June 30, 2018! Your college must have your correct, completed information by your last day of enrollment in the 2017-18 school year in order to meet this deadline.
Myth #2: Back in the fall, I used my 2015 income and tax information on my 2017-18 FAFSA, so I need to update that information with my 2016 figures after I’ve filed my taxes.
Fact: Since the FAFSA is now available each year on October 1 (three months earlier than it used to be), there’s a new requirement for the income and tax information that you must use on your application. Instead of using data from the prior year, you’ll submit the information from two years prior to the year for which you’re applying for financial aid. So you won’t use your 2016 tax info until you submit your 2018-19 FAFSA.
Myth #3: My family makes too much money to qualify for financial aid, so I don’t need to submit a FAFSA.
Fact: There are many factors used in the formula that determines your eligibility for financial aid—not just income. While it’s true that having a great family income may keep you from receiving a Pell Grant, there are still other forms of financial aid that are worth looking into, meaning you’ll probably still need to submit a FAFSA. Scholarship committees may also ask to see your Student Aid Report (SAR), which is a summary of all the data you submitted on your FAFSA. So why not give it a try? The FAFSA is free, and it could open up opportunities for financial aid that can help you achieve your dream of higher education.
Happy Presidents Day! We’re thankful for so many of our nation’s leaders who have made it a priority to see that any student can attain higher education as a part of their pathway to success. Try this fun quiz to see how much you know about the history of U.S. Presidents and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
1. Who signed the Higher Education Act of 1965, which authorized most of the federal student financial aid programs?
a. John F. Kennedy
b. Richard Nixon
c. Lyndon B. Johnson
d. Abraham Lincoln
2. Who was president when the first Financial Aid Form (FAF) was
introduced in 1976?
a. Gerald Ford
b. Dwight D. Eisenhower
c. Franklin D. Roosevelt
d. Ronald Reagan
3. Which president was in office when the Higher Education Amendments of 1992 added the FAFSA to the financial aid process and required it to be free?
a. Barack Obama
b. Bill Clinton
c. Jimmy Carter
d. George H.W. Bush
4. FAFSA on the Web (fafsa.gov) was launched in 1997, during the presidency of:
a. George W. Bush
b. Bill Clinton
c. John Adams
d. Barack Obama