The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now available for all prospective college students who are enrolling for the 2019-20 academic year to determine their eligibility for student financial aid.
“The benefit of applying for the FAFSA is to ensure that the student has explored all funding options available,” said Bonnie Saucedo, financial aid assistant with Newman.
By filling out the FAFSA, students increase their chances of being awarded supplemental financial aid packages that help lessen the overall cost of higher education. Some packages may include grants, scholarships, loans and work-study programs.
The 2019-20 Newman priority consideration deadline for limited funds is Dec. 1, 2018. Applying early takes some of the stress out of the process, allowing ample time to gather and prepare necessary documents, paperwork and numbers. Early completion also ensures that the applicant has the best chance to receive an optimal award package.
This summer the U.S. Department of Education introduced two new ways to complete the process: a mobile-friendly version of the fafsa.gov website and a mobile app.
From scholarship searches to a loan repayment calculator, the official FAFSA website provides several other resources to help ease the college application and payment processes.
Every college-bound student can and should apply for FAFSA, even students who do not believe they will be eligible for federal aid. Individuals often underestimate eligibility and overestimate how much scholarship money they will receive. This is why it is important to file for federal aid as early as possible — even before applying to a particular university. Knowing eligibility might help in the decision-making process.
Even if the applicant does not qualify for federal grants, universities often use the form to determine grant and scholarship awards. The FAFSA is necessary for students to receive any federal aid, such as a Pell Grant, a Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, a Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan, a Direct Parent PLUS Loan, and/or work-study.
Students who plan to attend graduate school in the 2019-20 academic year should also consider completing the FAFSA if they wish to apply for federal student loans to help fund their education. Using and combining free resources such as grants and scholarships can make student loan amounts small or even non-existent in some cases.