DAVE RAMSEY

5 things parents should know about free federal student aid application

Dec 9, 2018, 4:30 AM
(Pixabay.com Photo)...
(Pixabay.com Photo)
(Pixabay.com Photo)

Parents, do you have a rising or current college student? Have you filled out this year’s FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) yet?

You might be thinking, “Nope. We don’t have time to fill out another form,” But trust me, the potential savings are worth making time for.

Here are five things you need to know about the FAFSA:

The FAFSA isn’t as confusing as it sounds

Still wondering what the FAFSA actually is or what it does? It’s pretty simple. Schools use the FAFSA to decide how much money to offer your child for college through student loans and scholarships/grants.

Which one of those do we want to avoid? That’s right: student loans!

There are a ton of scholarships and grants available. They can come from your child’s school, the government—even local organizations.

Every dollar will help your child steer clear of thousands of dollars in debt. FAFSA is the key to unlocking all those possibilities, as well as the Federal Work Study Program (another great way for your child to earn money in college).

But truth is, only about 45 percent of high school seniors complete the FAFSA by graduation.

This leaves piles of money unused. The U.S. Department of Education awards about $150 billion to students every year. Take the money!

So, why don’t more students complete their FAFSA? Well, there are plenty of myths about the form. Two of the biggest ones are:

• “The FAFSA takes too much time to fill out.” No, it doesn’t. It takes less than 30 minutes!

• “Not everyone needs to complete it.” Everyone should fill out the FAFSA! There’s no income cut-off to be eligible for aid, and you never know how much you might qualify for unless you try.

The FAFSA is easy to find

All your child needs to do is go to studentaid.ed.gov, the official FAFSA website. You can find the actual form there, plus plenty of helpful info on different types of aid and how to avoid scams.

The FAFSA has a deadline

Teens shouldn’t wait until they know where they’re going to college before they fill out the form.

The application period opened Oct. 1 and it’s smart to apply as soon as possible.

Deadlines vary by state, so head to the FAFSA website to find out your state’s exact requirements. Your child should also check for deadlines on their potential university’s website.

The FAFSA follow-up process is simple

Once your teen has filled out the FAFSA, they’ll receive an Expected Family Contribution. It’s an estimate of how much money you and your child can afford to contribute to the college fund.

The Federal Student Aid office then sends that number to schools to determine the student’s financial need. Generally, the lower the dollar figure, the more aid the student is eligible for.

Next, the school(s) your child applies to will look at his or her FAFSA numbers and send an award letter with details about the aid they can get. Award letters can be tricky, because it’s not always clear whether your child is being offered a scholarship, a grant, or a loan. Read the fine print, and don’t let them sign up for anything until you’re sure they don’t have to pay it back later.

Filling out the FAFSA isn’t a one-time deal

Your child should fill out the FAFSA every year, even after they’ve already started college.

They can keep getting scholarships and grants throughout all four years.

What’s not to love about that?

Dave Ramsey

(Pexels Photo)...
Christy Wright

If you want to start a business, 2022 could be your year

If you’ve been thinking about starting a small business for a while, then the upcoming year could be the perfect time. These five tips should help you make that dream a reality.
2 days ago
(AP Photo, File/Damian Dovarganes)...
Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey says: Set reasonable budget to cut costs during the holiday

Before you start shopping for the holidays, set a reasonable budget, determine what’s fair for each person and stick to it. And be sure you’re following realistic gift guidelines.
7 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
George Kamel

Here are some of the pitfalls of DIY investing

DIY investing is one of the hottest trends out there right now, but there are some pitfalls.
9 days ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey says: Finances for married couple should always be a ‘we’ deal

Would it be fair if only the person making money in a marriage is allowed a little cash to spend for fun once in a while? Of course, not. Marriage is not a "me" thing, it’s a "we" thing.
14 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Rachel Cruze

Don’t let retail therapy cause you to overspend for the holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – for buying gifts. And while you’re at it, you might as well buy something for yourself, right? We’ve all been there. Remember in “Friends” when Monica bought those super expensive leather boots on impulse? She ended up regretting it because they really hurt her feet. Womp, […]
16 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey says: Get rules in writing before friend signs on as tenant

Doing business with friends always comes with the risk of running into a situation that can damage the relationship. If you rent out a home to a friend, sign an agreement, just like with any other renter.
21 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Canvas Annuity

Annuity basics: how to retire with a guaranteed paycheck for life

Does the thought of retirement fill you with stress or with happiness? Everyone wants to spend their retirement in a way that brings them the most joy, whether that’s traveling the world or spending extra time at home with grandkids.
...
Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford offers cars and deals for all this holiday season

Sanderson Ford’s No! Vember Black Friday sale is giving an opportunity to purchase a new 2021 vehicle just in time for the holiday season.
...
PNC Bank

3 cool tips to turn everyday moments into learning experiences for your child

Early brain development has a crucial impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school and life. Research has shown that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age five.
5 things parents should know about free federal student aid application