Applying for Financial Aid in the United States is a complicated process. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is a common term that we hear when students talk about applying for financial aid. Does it concern you what FAFSA means? Are you wondering why students are so concerned about FAFSA when they are discussing financial aids? How can you be sure which financial aid is the right option for you? Will it be “free money,” or would you have to pay back for it?
There are several questions which come to our mind when we are applying for financial aid. This article will help answer some of the most concerning myths about FAFSA. So without further ado, let’s explore the wide held myths about the FAFSA and how one should apply for financial aid.
What is FAFSA?
FAFSA is a form which students fill to determine whether they qualify for financial aid or not. For those of you who are concerned whether they will have to pay back the amount they receive through FAFSA, then your answer is “NO.” You don’t have to pay anything back because FAFSA does not work the same way as a loan would. It’s simply a document that helps the government analyze if you qualify for the loan or don’t. Once you have filled out the FAFSA form and submit it, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) document. Based on this report, the school you are applying to will decide how much financial aid you will require and analyze how much your family can contribute.
Can anyone or everyone apply for FAFSA? Well, here are some myths that are widely held among students.
Myth # 1: I Come From a Rich Family, so I am Not Eligible for FAFSA
If you are coming from a well-to-do family background, then you might wonder why you will be eligible to apply for FAFSA. However, here’s the good news, there are no income cut-out requirements for federal student aid. Whether your parents earn big money or work on meager wages, students still qualify for some financial aid if they are well deserving of it. Many schools consider multiple other factors besides just your family’s income. They address the size of the family, the number of siblings, the years of schooling, and many other factors to ensure you’re the rightful candidate applying for financial aid.
Myth # 2: I Can Earn for Myself, I Don’t Need to Include My Parents in FAFSA
Many students fall under the misconception that if they are earning good enough and paying their taxes on time, they do not require to mention their parents in their FAFSA program. Even though you’re somewhat independent and can earn your living, you still need to fill out a section in your FAFSA form which can help the regulatory authorities analyze your dependency status. Based on that section, regulatory authorities will then assess if you’re eligible for applying for financial aid or not. If somehow you’re dependent on your parents, then you must mention them in the FAFSA form.
Myth # 3: I Should Hold Filling Out FAFSA until I Don’t Get Enrolled in a College
Many students wait until they get admission to a particular school or college to fill out their FAFSA form. What they don’t realize is that they can have several options if they choose to fill their FAFSA form beforehand. There’s no limitation to how many schools or colleges you would like to mention in your FAFSA. You can choose to list down a single one, or you can choose to list down a variety of colleges. It’s up to you to choose as many schools as you want to apply for financial aid through FAFSA.
Do you know that FAFSA allows you to add up as many as 10 schools at a time for financial aid?
All the schools you will list down will help FAFSA analyze how much financial aid you need.
Myth # 4: Should I Call FAFSA to Learn How Much Aid I Will Be Getting?
The answer is No. FAFSA is in connection with the school where you’re applying for your financials. Everything that FAFSA will afford on your behalf will concern the financial aid department at your respective school or college. If you’re wondering whether you can disburse the aid amount or not, you cannot. As far as the financial aid’s status is concerned, you can find out the status by contacting the relevant finance department of the school or college where you’re applying. Every school has its timeline & requirements for offering financial aid. Once you have applied, make sure to learn what prerequisites you will require to achieve financial aid for yourself through FAFSA.
Myth # 5: Only Students with Good Grades are Eligible for FAFSA
Scoring good grades and a high-grade point average can provide you admission to one of the United States’ best schools and may even earn you an academic scholarship. However, many federal aid programs for students don’t make good grades or academic performance into consideration when applying for FAFSA. Yet, that certainly does not mean that you’re free from the responsibility of achieving a good grade. To maintain receiving aid through FAFSA, you will have to maintain satisfactory academic progress continuously. Or else, FAFSA will remove its financial aid program for you.
So there you go, that’s just about everything you need to learn before applying for the FAFSA program. Are you planning to apply for FAFSA as a student? Visit studentaid.gov and fill out the application. If you’ve already applied or are planning to apply within a certain school or college, list it in your FAFSA form & schools will send you an electronic or paper financial aid offer telling you how much they offer!