Family of four in the kitchen making dinner.Seniors, you’ve just begun your final semester of high school!  Some of you may be shouting “hooray”, while others just got a pit in your stomach, realizing how much you need to accomplish before graduation day. If college is in your future, I’m hoping that you’ve already applied for admission and submitted your 2022-23 FAFSA. If not, now is the time to get those things checked off of your list!

What is the FAFSA?

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a government form that you fill out to be considered for federal, state, and college-based aid…and some scholarships require it as well.

The 2022-23 FAFSA filing season opened on October 1, 2021. It’s always best to get it submitted as soon as possible – ideally sometime in October or November! However, if you haven’t already done so, it’s not too late to complete the FAFSA now! Use our FAFSA Checklist to gather all items needed to complete the form.

Before you begin the FAFSA, you and one parent will need to create a student aid account at StudentAid.gov. This is your login information (usernames & passwords) to sign and submit the FAFSA electronically. Write the usernames & passwords down and keep them in a secure place as you will need them each year you file the FAFSA.

Am I required to complete the FAFSA?

If you want to be considered for financial aid such as grants, work-study, and student or parent loans, then yes, you are required to fill it out.  Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for the “free” money, it’s always best to get the FAFSA submitted as you are not obligated to take on any type of aid that you don’t wish to. Ultimately, each college decides whether it is a requirement for their students to complete the FAFSA or not.  It’s a free form to fill out and EducationQuest can help you fill it out for free, so what do you have to lose?!

What if I’m not sure where I’m going to college?

The FAFSA will allow you to enter up to 10 colleges on the application. Keep in mind that you need to be accepted to the colleges you list on the FAFSA in order for them to create and offer a financial aid package to you.  Sometimes it’s difficult to decide which college is ultimately the best fit for you, but don’t let that hold you back from submitting the FAFSA. You can make your final college choice after financial aid offers arrive and you’ve had some time to think!

Do I only file the FAFSA one time?

NO! The FAFSA needs to be completed each year to renew your eligibility for Federal Student Aid for the following school year! Think sooner rather than later, when it comes to filling out the FAFSA as many colleges award some of their aid on a first-come, first-served basis.

What else should I know about the FAFSA?

Once your FAFSA is submitted, you may be one of the 25% who are chosen for a process called verification.  If that happens, don’t stress out!  Being selected for verification doesn’t mean that you’re in trouble or that you’ve necessarily done something wrong. Verification is a process put into place by the U.S. Department of Education to confirm that the information reported on FAFSA forms is accurate. The purpose of verification is to make sure that colleges aren’t awarding need-based financial aid to students who don’t actually qualify. If you are chosen for verification, just send the information/documents requested to the college’s Financial Aid Department as quickly as possible.

What if I have questions or need help with the FAFSA?

If you have questions, visit our Financial Aid FAQs section of our website at EducationQuest.org.  If you’d prefer to speak to a College Planning Specialist and/or would like assistance filling out your FAFSA, contact the EducationQuest office nearest you. Our staff can set up an in-person or virtual appointment to meet with you. Best of all, our services are completely FREE…so what are you waiting for?!