Straight-up truth on financial aid
THE FAFSA®—YOUR TICKET TO AID
It stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. And filling it out is crucial, because it’s used to determine the types and amounts of federal student aid you can get. Plus, many states and colleges use your FAFSA info to determine if you can get their grants and scholarships too. That is, if you fill it out. No FAFSA, no aid.
BUT DO THIS FIRST
Before you start the FAFSA, gather a few pieces of information. You know, just to make the process easier. Get things like your FSA ID (create your FSA ID now), Social Security number, savings and checking account balances, and a list of schools you’re interested in.
TYPES OF AID (WHO KNEW?)
Is federal student aid just grants? Uh, no. It actually includes three different kinds of financial help:
Grants. Money given to you based on your financial situation—and you don’t have to pay it back. Boom.
Work-study. A part-time job that helps you earn money for college.
Low-interest loans. Money you borrow at low, fixed rates. (So no jaw-dropping rate hikes later.)
The 2017–18 FAFSA launched Oct. 1, so get on it! You might have heard it launches every January, but not anymore. And many states and schools have limited funds, so fill it out ASAP. Like, now.
Still don’t think you’re eligible?
Find out why you’re (probably) wrong.