Sometimes, finding money when you need it is hard. But finding money to help you pay for college? Not so much. That’s why filling out the FAFSA is so important!
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid—which is the spelled-out version of the ‘FAFSA’ acronym that you’ve probably heard of—is the key to how you, your friends and family can pay for college. The FAFSA determines your eligibility for federal college funding. It determines if you qualify for the Pell grant (that does not have to be repaid), student loans (that do have to be repaid), state aid (that does not have to be repaid), federal work-study, or scholarships (that don’t have to be repaid). And many colleges, including Alabama’s community colleges, use the FAFSA to determine institutional scholarships and financial aid.
In other words, everyone who is college-bound needs to complete the FAFSA to try for a chance for free money for college. You can start the form by visiting fafsa.ed.gov.
Don’t Miss Out on Funding
More than $175 million was distributed from the federal government among students at Alabama’s community colleges last year. That’s a big number, another big number is $60 million, that’s how much money was left on the table for Alabama students because they didn’t compete the FAFSA.
This year, Alabama’s public high schools are requiring that all high school seniors at least try for the Pell grant by completing the FAFSA. Most Alabama high school seniors qualify for Pell Grants of up to $6,435. And guess what? That amount will cover the cost of full-time tuition and fees at Alabama’s community colleges. For $0 and one hour of your time, you could be well on your way to funding your college education.
Get Rewarded for Your Effort
Completing the FAFSA is not hard, but it does take effort. You and your parents will need to create an FSA ID, create a Personal Identification Number, and gather financial documents like income tax records. While there’s effort involved on your part, there are also tremendous resources to help make the process as easy as possible for you.
Your local community college financial aid and admissions teams are on hand to help you and your family complete the FAFSA. You can visit accs.edu/fafsa to find your local college and more details.
Explore Your Options
Whether you’re university bound or interested in jumping straight into a career, Alabama’s community colleges are the right place to start. With quality classes at less than half the cost of the state’s four-year institutions, you can start your education journey without saddling yourself with student loan debt. Not yet college bound? Dual enrollment courses at your local community college will help you save time and money by knocking out your core degree requirements while still in high school. (Oh, and scholarships are available across the state in any STEM program.)
College doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. And filling out the FAFSA is the best first step towards ensuring you are getting every dollar you can to help pay for your college education. Alabama’s community college are here to help, we hope to see you soon. Our doors are always open.
The Alabama Department of Education will begin requiring FAFSA for graduation in 2022. Sponsored By: ACCS