Why The FAFSA Should Be Your #1 Priority in Paying for College

The FAFSA should be your priority

Flickr user Marquette LaForest

Every year, thousands of prospective college students lose out on federal student aid that they are eligible for, simply because they did not complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. Even though the FAFSA should be your priority, it may not be. There’s one primary reason students do not complete the FAFSA. They believe one or more of the many FAFSA myths out there. The most common myth is that their parents make too much money for them to qualify for the FAFSA.

Before getting into the why of filing the FAFSA, we’d like to emphasize that every student who is considering applying to college, MUST fill the FAFSA regardless of their family financial situation. You may think your family’s solid financial situation makes you ineligible to apply. However, the federal government may see your financial situation differently.

So why exactly is completing the FAFSA so important and why should it be your #1 priority paying for college?

Completing the FAFSA opens the doors to several financial aid opportunities. Take a look at how filing the FAFSA can help you cover the cost of college.

It Opens The Doors for Free Money

Filling out the FAFSA means getting grants, scholarships, and work study programs, all of which are sources of aid money. More and more colleges are taking FAFSA information into account when they reward scholarships. If you really want that scholarship, you need to fill out a FAFSA.

You Get Access to Low-Cost Loans

When you submit the FAFSA, you can automatically qualify for federal student loans, which have a much lower rate of interest as compared to private student loans. In addition to lower interest rates, federal student loans also offer much more flexibility when it comes to repaying the loans.

You May Be Eligible For Forgiveness

You may be able to get some of your federal student loans forgiven under certain conditions. Taking up a job in public service or as a teacher in a low-income school are just two of many ways that you may be eligible to get part of your federal student loan forgiven. You can take advantage of these and other loan forgiveness programs ONLY if you have filed the FAFSA.

Others Use the FAFSA Too

Several states award students scholarships for their good grades. Your ACT, SAT, and other college entrance exams scores can award you scholarships as well. All this money is awarded via the FAFSA.

Additionally, some outside scholarships require applicants file the FAFSA, to ensure they have financial need.

When it comes to paying for college, it’s easy to see that making the FAFSA your #1 priority offers you several substantial benefits that will help lower your overall debt after you graduate. Regardless of your family’s financial situation, apply for the FAFSA! You never know what scholarships and grants you qualify for, and any amount of aid helps pay for college.

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!

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