💡 The Frank Takeaways:
- For the 2021-2022 school year, students eligible for the Pell Grant could get up to $6,495 per semester.
- Parent financial information is only used to determine how much aid you need and does not affect immigrant status.
- FAFSA® qualifies you for certain institutional scholarships.
- FAFSA® could help you take out less student loan debt.
For students that need a little extra help paying for college, FAFSA® is the first step in securing financial aid.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is an application all college students can fill out to see if they qualify for gift aid (aka money you don’t have to pay back). You apply for FAFSA® each year, and unfortunately, it’s a big and complicated application that scares hundreds of thousands of students away each year.
Here’s why you shouldn’t let the application keep you from getting the federal financial aid that you deserve.
Get over $6k a semester towards your degree
For the 2021-22 school year, students eligible for the Pell Grant could get up to $6,495 per semester.
The Pell Grant is financial aid you don’t have to pay back. You can use the funds for everything from tuition to textbooks and so much more. Every year, students eligible for this grant don’t file their FAFSA®, which means the money goes unclaimed.
Paying for college is hard. The Pell Grant is the number one reason to file your FAFSA®.
Don’t worry if your parents are immigrants
First-generation American’s forgo filing their FAFSA® because they’re worried about parents who aren’t U.S. citizens.
You need your parent’s financial information to file the FAFSA® if you are dependent. However, that information is only used to determine how much financial aid you are eligible for. It will not affect any citizenship process or raise red flags with the government.
The FAFSA® is so important for first-generation college students and American citizens. They’re often the ones who need the funding the most.
If you need to put your parents at ease when filing for the FAFSA®, have them talk to a financial advisor at your school. Hopefully, they can let them know that FAFSA® is a safe way for you to get more funding for college.
FAFSA® qualifies you for institutional scholarships
Beyond missing out on the Pell Grant, you might miss additional scholarships. Some colleges and educational institutions use the financial information on the FAFSA® to determine if you’re eligible for need-based scholarships, state aid, and other award opportunities.
By not filing the FAFSA®, your school won’t access the information needed to award you those scholarships. That means you could be missing out on even more gift aid to help you pay for your college degree.
You could lessen your student loan debt
When you get gift aid, that’s less money you have to take out in student loan debt. In a country where students have amassed an alarming $1.7 trillion in student loan debt, it’s more important than ever to be aware of how much money you’re borrowing.
Many students forget that their student loan debt follows them well into adulthood — many not paying off that debt until they’re in their 40’s or 50’s.
Why take out so much debt if you could get gift aid from the government or your college? You’ll never know if you don’t apply.
It’s just good practice!
You and your family’s economic situation can change from year to year. That’s why students need to file FAFSA® for each academic year that they’re in college. While you might not be eligible for money one year, you could be the next.
The more you file the FAFSA®, the less complicated it is. Plus, filing FAFSA® with Frank is easier than the government application and typically takes under 7 minutes.
A bonus of using Frank is our knowledgeable financial aid experts standing by to assist you if you hit a snag.
So, what are you waiting for? File your FAFSA® now.