I often have parents ask me what is the most important thing they can do to help secure money for their student’s college education. You might assume I would say, “Apply for scholarships,” but surprisingly, there is an even more important task that parents need to do in the quest to find college money: File the FAFSA.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) should be a mandatory part of the college process, as this form may help students get more aid AND qualify them for more scholarships. Not sure if you should file? Here are some common assumptions:
What if we make too much money to be awarded federal aid? Still file the FAFSA.
• Low interest loans still help in paying for college
• Many colleges and scholarship committees want to see that the family has filed before making admission and award decisions.
What if we find the filing process overwhelming and confusing? Still file the FAFSA.
• Get help online or at a local high school or college
• The process gets easier, especially with the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
What if we already filed and all we got were loans? Still file the FAFSA.
• Your financial circumstances may change
• Submit the FAFSA beginning in October of your student’ senior year and every year until graduation (New for 2017-2018)
Have more FAFSA questions? Click here.
Read all of the Scholarship Mom Tips here.
Learn more about winning college scholarships
Check out Monica’s guide for parents on Amazon: How to Win College Scholarships: A Guide for Parents in 10 Easy Steps