FAFSA® Quick Tips: Financial Aid Fact vs. Fiction

Applying for financial aid can be overwhelming enough without the added stress of having to decipher what’s fact and what’s fiction.

But don’t worry! We’ve tracked down the most common financial aid myths and exposed the truth to help you along your financial aid journey!

“Your family earns too much money to receive financial aid”

Even if you don’t qualify for need-based aid, you may still qualify for merit-based aid and federal student loans. The good thing about federal student loans is, they were created with students in mind. They often have better repayment plans, and they have a lower interest rate than private or personal loans.

“FAFSA® is only for student loans”

Although filing FAFSA® is the only way to apply for federal student loans, it also opens the door to so much more. Filing FAFSA® automatically applies you for grants, scholarships, and work-study programs from the colleges you put on your application.

That’s FREE aid you don’t have to pay back!

“I only need to file FAFSA® once”

To receive financial aid, you have to file FAFSA® every year. The application opens on October 1st, and the sooner you file, the better your chances of maximizing your aid.

The good thing about filing every year is, changes in your financial situation are taken into account, which means you could end up getting more money than in previous years!

“Financial aid is negotiable”

You can 100% negotiate your financial aid. Let’s face it, life happens, and your financial situation can change at the drop of a hat. Don’t let your education suffer, negotiate for more aid.

Maybe you get amazing grades, or another school offered you a ton of aid, you can appeal for more aid from your top choice schools. Take a look at this guide for more info on the negotiation process.

“I should wait until I’m accepted before filing FAFSA®”

You should file FAFSA® as soon as you are preparing to go to college. For instance, if you’re planning on attending college for the 2022-2022 school year, FAFSA® will open for you on October 1st, 2020. Even if you haven’t made all your school selections or sent out your applications yet, FAFSA® allows you to add up to 10 schools.

The schools will then use the information from your FAFSA® to determine the amounts and types of aid awards they will offer you.

“I need good grades to qualify for financial aid”

You don’t need to have good grades to qualify for financial aid! Although a lower GPA takes you out of the running for merit-based aid, you’re still able to secure grants and scholarships, in addition to federal student loans.

“The sooner I file FAFSA® the better”

Have you ever heard the phrase, the early bird gets the worm? Students who file the FAFSA® during the first three months tend to receive double the grants, on average, in comparison to students who file their FAFSA® later. It’s important to pay attention to federal, state, and school application start dates, which are often as early as October 1st.

Now that you know the difference between financial aid myths and reality, you’re armed with the information you need to kick off FAFSA® season!