Fill out the FAFSA

For many people, how to pay for a college education is one of the major financial decisions before deciding on a school. There are many different ways to pay for college. Understanding your choices can help you make the right decision for your situation.

Start by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

A critical first step for many prospective students is to complete the FAFSA . FAFSA completion is an important part of the student aid process.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some states have extended their FAFSA deadlines. . Contact your school’s financial aid office to find out if their priority FAFSA deadline has been extended.

Why fill out the FAFSA?

Filling out the FAFSA is required if you want to apply for federal assistance, including grants, loans and work study. Your eligibility for need-based federal aid, such as Pell Grants and subsidized student loans is determined by your FAFSA submission.

Filling out the FAFSA does not commit you to taking out student loans or accepting the financial aid offered. However, if you do not submit a FAFSA you will not be able to access federal grants or other forms of federal financial aid.

In addition, states typically require students to complete the FAFSA to qualify for state grant programs, and most colleges and universities will not consider awarding any institutional aid, until the FAFSA has been submitted.

Even if you have not finalized your plans for this fall, consider filling out the 2020-2021 FAFSA sooner rather than later, many state and schools award aid on a first-come, first-serve basis and may have established earlier, “priority” deadlines. If you miss a key deadline to complete the FAFSA, you will limit your ability to qualify for state or institutional funding.

For more information:

finaid.org

http://studentaid.ed.gov

Teaching Suggestions

  • Ask students why it is important to complete the FAFSA form sooner than later?
  • What basic information is needed before beginning the FAFSA application process?

Discussion Questions

  1. Where can you get assistance if you need help in filling out the FAFSA form?
  2. Why is important to take advantage of any scholarships and grants before applying for a federal loan?

Get Help to Make Informed Financial Decisions About How to Pay For College

It’s more important than ever for students and former students to make smart decisions about financing their college education.  Whether you are attending college soon, are a current student, or already have student loans, here are some tools and resources to help you make the best decisions for you.

For many people, how to pay for a college education is one of the first major financial decisions they’ll make.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published excellent guides on paying for college. These guides cover some of the big decisions you’ll face and will help you understand your options for financing your college education.

If you’re considering student loans to help pay for school, you’re not alone—many students need loans to cover their full cost of attendance.  If you have to take out a student loans, comparing your options can help you find the student loan best suited for your needs.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Ask students if they applied for a student loan. What steps did they take to successfully obtain a loan?
  • Ask students to prepare a list of several federal and state sources of student loans for college.
  • Ask students if they had any problems in filling the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. How was the problem resolved?

Discussion Questions

  1. If a student is eligible for a federal loan, why is it important to take subsidized loans first?
  2. If you have to borrow money for school, what are your options?
  3. What should you consider when shopping for a private loan?

Affordable School Tips

To help students and their families reduce the costs associated with college, AffordableSchoolsOnline.com provides information and links on various topics.  Features of this website, which was previously known as FrugalDad.com, include coverage college selection, financial aid, saving for college, and career trends for selecting a major.

For additional information on money-saving tips for school, click here:

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students conduct online research to determine actions that might be taken to reduce education costs.
  • Have students interview various people to determine actions to take to reduce education costs.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What actions have you taken to reduce education costs?
  2. Describe attitudes and beliefs that may minimize a person’s desire to reduce their education costs.