Few aspects of the college admissions process cause as much consternation and confusion as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better know as the FAFSA. This document is critical: you need to fill out the FAFSA to get any college financial aid from the federal government in the form of grants, work-study, and low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Education. What are some fast facts worth knowing about the FAFSA?
- Filling out the FAFSA is free.
- The FAFSA isn’t just used by the federal government. Many states and colleges also use the FAFSA to determine which students get financial aid and how much will be awarded.
- The FAFSA doesn’t focus solely on the applicant but also requires information a family’s finances, including tax returns.
- The FAFSA needs to be filled out every year.
Of course, fast facts can only tell you so much. This topic deserves as much attention as you can give it. A while back, I invited financial aid consultant Kevin Angney to my podcast Tests and the Rest to expand on some critical questions about the FAFSA and CSS Profile:
1. Should everyone fill out the FAFSA?
2. What information is required to fill out the FAFSA?
3. How does a global economic crisis like a pandemic impact financial decisions?
4. What is the optimal timeline for addressing the financial component of college?
5. What is the best way to appeal and improve a financial aid offer?
Kevin’s explanation of What You Need To Know About The FAFSA and CSS Profile is definitely worth a listen for anyone embarking on the college process. Follow that one with our episode on 529 college savings plans with financial expert John Hupalo, and you’ll be a lot closer to understanding–and maybe even paying for–college!