What is the Purpose of the FAFSA Application? FAFSA series Part I
For many students and parents, the FAFSA is a total mystery and something that is quite confusing. So, in an attempt to answer the question “What is the Purpose of the FAFSA Application?”, we are going to cover the basics of the FAFSA in this article aimed to help you prepare for college.
Whether you are a parent or a student reading this, chances are you are, or have a senior student looking for options to pay for college tuition. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to explore the many free college scholarships out there (we recommend FastWeb…it’s 100% free). We would suggest you continue to pursue scholarships and grants as the next few months (January to May) can be the best time to get in on some “free money” for college.
But, you need a back up plan! Scholarships are very competitive, and what if you don’t get enough to cover your college costs? That’s where the FAFSA comes into play…
What is the Meaning of FAFSA?
So many acronyms, so little time! A common question from parents and students is “What is the meaning of FAFSA?”. FAFSA stands for “Free Application For Federal Student Aid“. Without getting overly technical on you, FAFSA is government money for education that comes in the form of a Grant, Loan or Federal Work Study (FWS) program.
As part of the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid is designed and implemented to help students and families realize their dream of getting a college education. Currently, the Federal Student Aid program awards over 14 million students and families financial aid for post-secondary education, to the tune of over $100 BILLION each year. Some of this aid is in the form of a loan, and some in the form of grant and scholarship money which does not need to be paid back.
How Do I Know if I Get FAFSA?
Another common question from parents and students looking for college money is “How do I know if I get FAFSA”? That question is easy, and not so easy. First off, the federal government believes that every student, regardless of income or background, is entitled to education in this country. What that means in terms of FAFSA is that EVERY student can receive money for college just by filling out and submitting the FAFSA.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be attending college for free. In fact, a very small percentage of students filling out the FAFSA will get any type of free aid or Grant money. You have to be pretty bad-off finanically to recieve that type of aid. The only way to know for sure what you will get from FAFSA is by applying, either online or via paper application.
But as we pointed out, every student is entitled to government money for college. This usually comes in the form of a student loan that has to be repaid after the borrower graduates from college. Actually, the payments don’t need to be made until 6 months after graduation, but that’s another article altogether!
So what is the purpose of the FAFSA application? It’s to give every student an opportunity to attend college, regardless of income level or financial situation.
We will continue this article series on the FAFSA over the next week or so in hopes that you will have a better understanding of what the FAFSA is, and how to get financial aid for college. If you’d like to follow this series, sign up for our free newsletter HERE.