The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) for the 2020-2021 school year closes on June 30th, 2021. If you haven’t already filed your FAFSA®, now is the time to gather everything you need and complete your application for the start of your 2021 Fall Semester.
Confused about why it’s essential to complete your FAFSA® so late in the year? We break down how filing can help you now and why you should file earlier in the future.
1. Access to FREE Federal Student Aid
The FAFSA® application allows your school to consider you for gift aid like Grants and Scholarships. It gives them an in-depth look at you and your family’s income and how much you can potentially spend on your education.
From the Pell Grant to need-based institutional scholarships, there are a ton of opportunities each year for students to get some of their college costs covered. Given the skyrocketing unemployment rates over the last year, free aid is highly beneficial to many families.
Learn more about what free aid families are eligible for through FAFSA® here.
2. Low-Interest Federal Loans
The only way to be eligible for low-interest federal loans, like Subsizided and Unsubsidized Stafford loans, is to complete the FAFSA®.
These types of student loans are different from private loans in that they often offer lower interest rates and better repayment plans. In some cases, federal student loans can even be forgiven later down the line.
While loans are not free aid and need to be repaid eventually, federal loans are more generous and accessible for students to get than private loan alternatives.
3. Opportunities for Aid Appeal
If your economic situation has changed due to the pandemic, filing for FAFSA® is your first step in getting more money towards your education. Even if you file and don’t get enough, completing the FAFSA® means you can petition your school for aid appeal.
FAFSA® uses your and your parent’s (if you’re a dependent student) tax return information from two years ago. But if your financial situation has changed since then, like many American’s have, you can then file an aid appeal application for more money.
4. Find Work-Study Opportunities
If you’re looking for ways to make money throughout your education and add to your resume, work-study aid is a great way to do that. You can apply for work-study positions through your university and get a paycheck to put towards your education.
Work-study income does not count towards your FAFSA® should you apply again the following year, which means it won’t affect the amount of aid you get each subsequent semester.
Work-study is a great way to gain on-the-job experience while lessening the number of student loans you may have to take out. But the only way to qualify for work-study and apply for jobs through your university is to apply for FAFSA® each year.
5. Find Affordable Housing
In some cases, filing FAFSA® could help you find affordable housing at your college or university campus. Whether you put some of your gift aid towards housing or the school places you in affordable campus housing, it’s a huge benefit to students who can’t afford school otherwise.
With a rapidly changing economy and many families struggling as it is, finding affordable college housing is more important than ever.
Keep in mind that FAFSA® gift aid is often first-come, first-served, and next year it will be beneficial to file your application when it opens on October 1st, 2021 for the 2022-2023 school year.
With these tips in mind, file your FAFSA® with Frank before the June 30th deadline and complete your application in less than 7 minutes. As an added bonus, our financial aid experts are here to help you along the way should you have any questions.