Understanding the FAFSA

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Summary of FAFSA

The FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. In laymen terms it is the process of obtaining financial aid money to fund postsecondary options. Those postsecondary options include 2 or 4 year college as well as career and technical training. Ultimately if used properly these financing options can be the key to higher income producing jobs. However, it is possible to overuse financial aid so please review this article before taking out student loans.

Do I qualify?

All of the following factors need to be met to qualify for financial aid through the FAFSA process:

  1. Hold high school diploma or GED
  2. Be enrolled or accepted into eligible degree or certificate program
  3. ***Males Only*** Be registered with Selective Service if between ages of 18 and 25
  4. Hold valid Social Security Number (SSN)
  5. Once enrolled in eligible program, maintain satisfactory progress

What are the types of aid provided through FAFSA?

There are four major types of financial aid provided through the FAFSA process. These are found below:

  1. Federal Pell Grant
  2. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  3. Direct Subsidized Loan
  4. Direct Unsubsidized Loan

What will I need?

Overall there are many pieces of information both large and small that will be needed in order to fill out the FAFSA properly. However there are three major pieces of information.

  1. All Participants Social Security Numbers
    • This includes the SSNs for the student as well as parents.
  2. College. Grad, of Certificate Level
    • Be specific in terms of your current year of undergraduate school, the type of certificate program you are in, or graduate school.
  3. Taxes filed for all participants
    • If the student or parents filed taxes then it is necessary to have those prepared and present. It is possible for student’s to file the FAFSA without parents filing taxes, but this is an individual decision and highly discouraged.

When is the deadline?
Each year the deadline to have your FAFSA filed is generally October 1st .

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Do I pay if I do not finish my program?
Yes. In short any money taken out through the FAFSA process will need to be paid back. Additionally, unlike other debt you will not be able to declare bankruptcy on it so know that this debt will follow you until fully paid back.

Mario Dattilo
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