Free money – is there another combination of two words that would be as pleasant? Especially if you are a student or are soon going to become one of this notoriously not very well-off caste.
If you are in this position, you know what we are talking about. When it comes to college education, there is no such thing as too much money – colleges sometimes feel like some monstrous hungry maw ready to devour as much money as you are ready to put into it. Even well-to-do families may find it difficult to put their offspring through a good college – and for those less affluent it may be a truly impossible task.
That is exactly the reason why FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) exists. It allows students, both current and prospective, to fill in the eponymous form, which is then studied by the officials to determine if each particular student is eligible for financial or other kind of aid based on different aspects of his or her situation – which is completely free of charge and can be repeated each year throughout the period of education.
Of course, in order to actually get any money you have to prove that you really need it – however, the system works pretty smoothly despite having to process tens of thousands of applications, and if your situation calls for federal help, you have good chances of receiving it.
As a result, for many a student and prospective student FAFSA may turn out to be a lifesaver – it may help one pay for college or find a Work/Study arrangement, in which education will be accompanied with a paid job.
Like many forms today, FAFSA is available in several formats, the most widespread being paper, PDF and online versions, as a part of the state’s attempt to limit its reliance on paper documents and ensuing logistical and processing costs.
You may not care much about helping out the federal government that chokes on paper, but there are solid reasons why using online FAFSA is good specifically for you. It is much more convenient both for you and those who are going to process it and decreases the possibility of errors, it can be done from home and is processed much faster than paper applications. If it is not enough, consider the fact that online FAFSA allows you to list up to ten colleges you are interested in, while the paper variant of the form only has space for four.
Sometime after submitting the FAFSA you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) which will show the government’s conclusions concerning your eligibility for aid, providing reasons for these conclusions and specifying the Expected Family Contribution.
One thing, however, should be noted – when filling in the FAFSA you should be as honest and as detailed as possible. The information you provide will be checked and, if it doesn’t correspond to reality, questions will be asked and doubt will be cast over everything you’ve said. If you know you should be eligible, better write everything as it is.