By now, you’ve probably finished all your supplements. You no longer have to pester your AP teachers for references, and you’re probably celebrating the New Year by relaxing and catching up on Netflix. All that’s left is to wait, right?
At the beginning of the New Year, the U.S. Department of Education released the FAFSA—the Free Application For Student Aid. You’re probably very familiar with what this is by now if you’re applying to colleges, but for students from various socioeconomic backgrounds, I cannot stress to you the importance of filling out this document right now. The reason is quite simple: it is literally free money. Let me say that again—IT’S MONEY THE GOVERNMENT GIVES YOU WITH NO STRINGS ATTACH. “But Gaaaaaabe! The deadline for me is [insert respective deadline which you can find here: https://fafsa.ed.gov/deadlines.htm]. Can’t I just fill it out by then and enjoy my break?”
You see, FAFSA works on a first-come, first-serve basis, meaning that the sooner you submit your application with all the necessary information, the more money you get. This can make the difference between needing to take out student loans, or having the costs of your books subsidized by the grant given to you by the government. (However, I do encourage you to fill it out by the deadline; after the deadline could result in no funds whatsoever).
I understand that the FAFSA can be confusing at times, so my advice is to have the following information:
FAFSA Pin (yours and your parents).
Any and all tax forms your parents—as well as you—filed that year.
And that’s pretty much it. Once you have all of that, all you need to do is fill in the respective information on the site. Now, if you’re like me, your parents may not be well-versed in filling out the FAFSA—and that’s okay. So long as you have the tax forms, FAFSA conveniently tells you where you can find the information on the documents for each box. All you need to do is go the corresponding line they reference on the tax forms you have, and enter the value you see. That’s it. Once you fill everything out, all you need to do is sign using your pin and your parents and press submit.
With each and every year, college is becoming more and more expensive, and the need for financial assistance is becoming more paramount than ever. So, please… Do your FAFSA. It will pay off—literally.
*I can understand that it can still be confusing, and for a number of reasons, so if that is the case, please feel free to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if I don’t know you, or you think I am too busy or whatever, please contact me, and I will do whatever I can to assist you with your financial endeavors. I am here for YOU*