FAFSA Tips: Getting More Money for College
While 85% of students applying receive financial aid, only 42% of Alabama HS Seniors completed the process. Which left hundreds of thousands in free federal money unclaimed.
Don’t miss out on your chance at receiving funding for college. We have laid out the answers to many questions you and your parents probably have about the FAFSA.
FAFSA is The Key
FAFSA stands for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid,” and it includes funding in the forms of government grants, federal student loans, a work study program, AND eligibility for certain scholarships. Your completed FAFSA is also required for a lot of private grant approval and scholarship eligibility.
What is FAFSA?
It is an online process that will produce an EFC (Expected Family Contribution)—it will use your previous year’s (unless otherwise specified) Tax Returns.
What is EFC?
The amount of monetary contribution the government believes that your family can afford to help pay for college costs that year. Colleges will use your EFC to determine how much financial aid and scholarships they should provide your family. This doesn’t take other expenses or debts into consideration, so it can limit the amount of funding you receive, especially if your parents make a large salary.
What is considered when determining your EFC?
Checking and savings accounts, owned land, 529 accounts, and other financial assets.
What is not considered in determining your EFC?
Home, retirement accounts, cars, or personal belongings (clothes, furniture, etc.)
Why rush to fill out the FAFSA now when the fall semester is so far away?
Studies show that those who apply early receive more than twice as much grant funding on average—it is a first-come, first-serve type of system at many colleges. March 1st is the typical cutoff—however, some have extended this to June due to Covid issues.
What if I have more than one kid going to college—does that affect grants & scholarships?
Yes, it is based on what you can afford—so, if you have two kids, you would expect to receive more aid because you can only contribute the EFC amount. Financial Aid packages vary from school to school because of the tuition and fees.
Think you make too much money to qualify for Financial Aid?
Last year, all dependent undergrads, regardless of their family’s income, could qualify for at least $27,000 in un-subsidized Stafford loans over 4 years. So, it is always worth filling out the form. Any amount of aid, no matter how small, is more helpful than zero. Don’t ignore your chance for free money.
NEW for 2022 Graduation: The State Board of Education voted to require a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for graduating high school seniors statewide.
Did You Know?
- 85% of students applying receive financial aid, but only 42% of Alabama HS Seniors completed the process.
- The state Board of Education voted to require a completed FAFSA for graduating high school seniors statewide starting this year.
- Studies show that those who apply early receive more than twice as much grant funding on average.
- Financial Aid is first-come, first serve.
- March 1st is the typical cutoff.