Q: What is FAFSA and what is if for?
A: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used for families to apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, work-study, and loans. It provides access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school.
Q: What are the advantages of filling out and submitting the FAFSA forms if parents feel that they would not qualify for need-based financial aid?
A: Since it’s not always clear which families will and will not qualify for need-based aid, it can be a good idea to complete financial aid forms as an incoming family to see if there are need-based opportunities. Many states and colleges and some private financial aid resources consider the FAFSA information to determine eligibility for aid. Also, some colleges require the forms in order to be considered for merit-based scholarships.
Q: Is there a benefit to filling out the FAFSA after you have applied to colleges (and in some cases, have been accepted)?
A: As long as you are meeting their deadlines, you can fill out the FAFSA at a later date to see if you would qualify for need-based aid. Also, if there is a significant change in household financial situation (job loss, death in family, etc.), families can apply for financial aid consideration after deadlines have passed. This year’s deadline is June 30, 2019.
Q: Who sees and evaluates the FAFSA forms?
A: The financial aid offices at the colleges to which your child has applied see and review the forms.
Q: Can you submit FAFSA forms for sophomore and future years?
A: The FAFSA is completed each year separately, so there will be a 2019-2020 FAFSA, a 2020- 2021 FAFSA, etc. Families need to reapply each year that they want to be considered for financial aid.
College Essay Whiz consultant and financial aid coach Blaine Blontz provides families with information regarding whether or not they are likely to qualify for need-based aid based on the colleges they are applying to and their financial information. If they decide to proceed with the forms (FAFSA and CSS Profile) he can ensure that the forms are being filled out correctly and in a way that will help the family maximize their financial aid eligibility. He then works with families later in the process to let them know if there are opportunities to negotiate for additional aid or where they can find options to pay the remaining balance once the financial aid awards have been received.