School is almost out, no doubt — if you are a high school student. For some, it may already be out until next year. In between your holiday merriment and your winter holiday reading list, check out the FAFSA — the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You can access it here.
Financial aid refers to a package of “monies” (multiple forms of money) that are offered to a student to attend a particular institution. The package typically includes:
- scholarship and grant money (money which is NOT repaid);
- loans (money which must be repaid);
- parent and student expected contributions (money you are assumed to have available to contribute to tuition and fees).
We encourage you to be interested in any and all scholarship/grant money that is available to you. Thus, filling out and submitting a FAFSA is imperative. You may or may not be interested in loans. Nonetheless, a FAFSA is imperative to fill out and submit. The only way for an institution to “understand” you financially — and thus offer you free money or loan money — is to fill out and submit a FAFSA. In fact, the FAFSA is required for many jobs that are available on campus (these jobs are called ‘work study’ jobs and are funded by the federal government; as such, to qualify for the job, a FAFSA is required.).
Our book has a great explanation of financial aid — complete with examples of sample award letters, what to watch out for, and many other things that are important to consider. We encourage you to check it out.
And, plan to fill out the FAFSA sooner rather than later!