It can be difficult to tell facts from fiction as there is a lot of information about financial aid for career school or college. FAFSA is the financial aid form for:
- Accessing grants
- Work-study funds
- Federal student loans
What Is A FAFSA Form?
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a form that current and prospective college students in the U.S. fill out to determine their eligibility for financial aid. FAFSA is the official form that students or their families use to apply for college financial aid from the federal government.
Explaining 9 Myths About Financial Aid And FAFSA Form
Here are nine common myths and facts about financial aid and FAFSA form:
1. Myth: I only need to fill out the FAFSA form once.
You must fill out the FAFSA form every year while you are still in school to remain eligible for federal student aid.
2. Myth: I should call the FAFSA people to find out when and how much financial aid I am getting.
You should contact your school instead of calling FAFSA people. Federal Student Aid does not disburse or award your financial aid. You should contact your school’s financial aid office to find out your financial aid status and when you can expect it. Note that each school has a different timeline for awarding financial aid.
3. Myth: Only students with good grades receive financial aid.
A high-grade point average will help you get accepted into a good school and help you with scholarships. When you first apply, most financial aid programs do not consider your grades. If you want to receive financial aid throughout your college career, you will have to maintain satisfactory academic progress as determined by your school.
4. Myth: My family makes too much money, so I will not qualify for financial aid.
The reality is it does not matter whether you have a low or high income. There is no income cut-off to qualify for financial aid. Most people qualify for financial aid, which includes low-interest federal student loans. Many factors are considered, such as:
- Your school year
- Size of your family
If you fill out the FAFSA form, you will automatically apply for financial aid from your state and possibly your school. Some schools will not even consider you for any of their scholarships, including academic scholarships until you submit a FAFSA form. Do not guess what you will get and fill out the FAFSA form to find out.
5. Myth: If I did not get enough money to go to school, I am just out of luck.
You still have many options. If you have received a college, federal, and state aid but still need to fill the gap between what you owe your school and what your financial aid covers. Then contact your school’s financial aid office to see if you are eligible for additional federal student loans. You can also:
- Work part-time on campus
- Make it a routine to regularly search and apply for scholarships
- Apply for payment plans available on your school’s billing office
6. Myth: I support myself, so I do not have to include my parent’s information on the FAFSA form.
It is not necessarily true. You can still be considered a dependent student for FAFSA purposes, even if you:
- Support yourself
- File your taxes
- Live on your own
FAFSA form asks a lot of questions to determine your dependency status. If you are independent, you do not have to provide your parents’ information. However, if you are a dependent student, you must include your parents’ information on your FAFSA form. Also, find out who is considered your parent to include on your FAFSA form if you are dependent.
7. Myth: I should wait until I am accepted to a college before filling out the FAFSA form.
You should not wait and can start now. You can even start as early as your high school senior year. You should list at least one college to get your information. Make a list of all the schools you are considering, even if you have not yet applied or been accepted. Adding other schools does not affect your application as colleges cannot see other schools you have added in your FAFSA form.
If you decide not to apply or attend later, you do not have to remove schools. The school can ignore your FAFSA form if you do not apply or get accepted to a school. You can add up to ten schools at a time. If you want to add another school after submitting your FAFSA form, you can log in and submit a correction. The schools you list will use your FAFSA information to determine the amounts and types of financial aid you will get.
8. Myth: There is only one deadline for FAFSA, and it is not until June.
There is not only one deadline but at least three deadlines to consider:
- State deadline
- School deadline
- Federal deadline
You can find state and federal deadlines at StudentAid.gov. You will have to check your school’s website for their FAFSA deadline. If you are applying to several schools, check all their deadlines and apply by the earliest one. If you apply for scholarships that require the FAFSA form, they may also have a different deadline. Fill out the FAFSA form as soon as possible to make sure you do not miss any financial aid.
9. Myth: I can share my FSA ID with my parents.
If you are a dependent student, two people will need their own FSA ID to sign your FAFSA form online who are:
- One of your parents
An FSA ID is a username and password that you use to log in to specific United States Department of Education (ED) websites. Your FSA ID identifies you as someone who has the right to access your personal information on ED websites. If your parents have more than one child attending college, they can use the same FSA ID to sign all applications.
You need a unique email address for each FSA ID. An FSA ID is used to sign legally binding documents electronically and has the same legal status as a written signature. You should not give your FSA ID to anyone, which includes the person helping you fill out the FAFSA form, as it can cause a delay in the FAFSA process and put you at risk of identity theft.
What Should You Do?
Go to StudentAid.gov and fill out the FAFSA form. Suppose you have been accepted or applied for admission to a career school or college and listed that school on your FAFSA form. Then the school will calculate your financial aid and send you a paper or electronic offer of financial aid, which tells you how much financial aid you are eligible for at the school.