How to Apply for Financial Aid (FAFSA)

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How to Apply for Financial Aid (FAFSA)

By Rachel Morley

Filling out FAFSA, otherwise known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, can be a stressful experience for high school seniors (and let’s be honest, their parents as well) to complete before college begins. Studyville is here to help! To make this process as simple and straightforward as we can, we will follow the 5 steps FAFSA recommends.  

Step 1: Prepare in Advance 

Talk to a school counselor (or Studyville’s college counselor) about your unique situation to decide on how you will pay for college. Do this well in advance of FAFSA’s deadlines to explore options of savings accounts, scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and more. A counselor will simplify this process for you by providing the best resources and their own personal expertise in dealing with FAFSA. 

Step 2: Apply for FAFSA

Use the hyperlink above to fill out FAFSA. You may need help from a parent or guardian. Data obtained from each FAFSA application is analyzed by many colleges and states to provide their own financial aid. 

Step 3: Review Student Aid Report

Each FAFSA applicant receives a Student Aid Report after completing the application which shows them their award eligibility. This is especially important to review if you have been accepted by several colleges and are trying to decide which is the best fit for you financially. Compare the colleges, pick the best one for you and your family, then provide the college with information on any other scholarships that will help cover your tuition. Counselors can help with this as well! 

Step 4: Receiving Aid

Universities will apply all financial aid received towards your tuition and send the remaining amounts back to you. Ensure you fill out FAFSA before each year you plan to attend college, and maintain satisfactory grades so you will continue to be eligible for aid.

Step 5: Repaying Aid

Post-graduation means student loans are due. There is a 6-month grace period to set up a payment plan option that works for you, and many resources to help with loan repayment if your financial situation changes. 

Sources: https://studentaid.gov/h/understand-aid/how-aid-works

Bailee Owens

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