Students all across the Unites States are working their way steadily toward the end of the school year. For many, that signifies nothing but the glorious days of summer. For others, it means applying for colleges, and working on the most effective ways to pay for classes for the coming fall. If you or a student in your life is considering what student aid you should apply for, keep reading to learn what is FAFSA, and other common student finance questions.
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What is FAFSA?
FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This single application can help students and families determine what kind of federal and state assistance they can receive to support their educational dreams. Assistance can range anywhere from grants and loans to work-study funds.
Most students can fill out a FAFSA, but there are limits on who will get aid. Only U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens can apply, and most applicants will need a valid Social Security Number. To receive aid, a student must show that they would have a hard time paying for college or educational programs themselves. They must also be enrolled in an approved program.
Students may be able to get support for college, technical school, or other certification programs just by filling out this form, and it is highly recommended. Many things can be more expensive for teens (like auto insurance) so it’s nice to have at least one system that will actually give you some financial help.
Where and When Should I Apply?
A good rule of thumb if you have students preparing for college this fall is to get the FAFSA submitted as soon as you can get all the paperwork together. This gives you a better idea of what schools you can afford and what extra loans you may need. That said, the exact due date will vary depending on your state. The current federal aid due date for the 2016-2017 school year is June 30, 2017.
Learn more about the FAFSA and apply online here.