Everything You Wanted to Know about the FAFSA

When you or your child is accepted to college, the next issue that comes up is how to afford the education. Not everyone can simply tap the college savings account. Also, not everyone feels completely comfortable going to the bank and taking out a sizeable loan for a degree that isn’t guaranteed to get you a job offer. For these people, it is always sensible to apply for a FAFSA. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Persons who fill this form out, and meet the requirements will often receive aid from the government. The aid can be in the form of straight scholarship, or an offering of a federal subsidized loan. Federal loans are different than the typical Bank Loan in that the interest rates aren’t as steep, so you aren’t paying as much over the long run. However, it is important to note that it is still a loan that you will need to pay back.

In order to fill it out, you simply have to go to the FAFSA web site. There will be a lot of identification questions, and you will also have to get a FAFSA Pin number. This number is a special number that is given to you for identification purposes. If you or your child is a male, ages 18 to 25, in order to be eligible for federal aid, he must register for Selective Service. This registration can be completed automatically in the FAFSA online application.

There are a variety of deadlines, but the most common deadline for FAFSA is March 1. This is the deadline for priority consideration. FAFSA is given out to millions of people every year, and it is on a first come, first serve basis. So in order to be considered first, you should complete the application as soon as possible. It can be done before you complete your taxes, you must simply estimate incomes and other assets. Even if your family is financially well off, it never hurts to apply for FAFSA and take the Federal Loans (which are offered to every applicant, regardless of income).

For more information, or to actually apply, see the official FAFSA web site: www.fafsa.ed.gov

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