Completing the FAFSA is the first step towards getting any type of financial aid towards college. Unfortunately, every year too many families across the US don’t file the FAFSA because they presume that they are not eligible for financial aid, so why bother with the formalities? The single biggest mistake you can make with getting financial aid is not completing the FAFSA.

Other FAFSA Benefits Besides Federal Aid

While the FAFSA is mandatory if you want to apply for a federal student loan or receive federal scholarships, that’s not the only benefit you will get. Many colleges require students to have filed the FAFSA to be considered for merit aid, even though it is not based on financial need. Additionally, many external scholarships require that you’ve filed the FAFSA in order to be eligible to apply!

Also, your financial circumstances could change anytime before college starts. For example, the family income could be reduced drastically because of job loss, or there could be an unforeseen emergency that ends up depleting the family funds. In such cases, if you have filed the FAFSA you may still be able to apply for a student loan and other types of financial aid, whereas if you failed to file the FAFSA, you would forfeit all the aid you are eligible for, including the opportunity to earn money through the work-study program.

So go ahead and fill the FAFSA. It is free so you’ve got nothing to lose and plenty to gain.

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