The FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form that determines the eligibility of college students for student financial aid. FAFSA is students currently in college as well as prospective college students, be they undergraduate or graduate.
However, there are several criteria students are required to meet to be eligible for financial aid. Some of the criteria include a registration with the Selective Service System, maintaining a C average minimum GPA, being a U.S. Citizen, U.S. National, or an eligible non-citizen, and several other criteria.
Students can prepare their federal student aid application form on the U.S. Department of Education’s website, or directly from a fee-based FAFSA preparation service. FAFSA can be reached by phone as well.
To understand FAFSA better, and to make the application process easier, we have listed 8 essential facts you could find useful about FAFSA.
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- Early Bird Gets The Worm – Many government grants are awarded on a first come, first served basis. So filling out your FAFSA early pays off.
- Not All Money is Free Money – About 38% of student financial aid is awarded in the form of federal loans, meaning that the money will need to be paid back.
- You Must Fill Out A FAFSA Annually – Financial aid eligibility is calculated annually, so your expected family contribution can change from year to year based on fluctuations in income.
- Good Grades = Money – If you receive financial aid, you must maintain a good grade point average to continue to receive financial aid.
- Men Must Be Registered – If you are male, you must have registered for the United States selective service to be eligible to receive federal financial aid.
- FAFSA is Used For More Than The Government – Colleges often use the FAFSA to determine who qualifies for their own need based financial aid programs.
- FAFSA Money Won’t Make You Rich – Financial aid is not intended to support a luxurious lifestyle. Grant and loan money is calculated based on the cost of tuition, room and board, books, and other education expenses.
- How Much Does the Government Give? The government provided 30.2 billion dollars in grant aid for the 2014 – 2015 academic year. This is money that does not need to be paid back to the federal government.