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Is it really FAFSA time again?

01/14/2016 Published by: Amy Soupene

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Categories: Transition to College

The holidays are over, the New Year is here, and it’s time to start thinking about…… wait for it…..Financial Aid!  I bet you didn’t see that one coming!

Parents of high school seniors and college students everywhere are completing the FAFSA.  Either this word is foreign to you and you have no idea what I’m talking about OR you do know and you are wondering if it’s worth your time to fill it out.

Let’s start with a few key informational points.  The FAFSA is an acronym for the FREE Application for Federal Student Aid.  It’s a long title and means possible college dollars for you.  I highlighted the word FREE because the application does not cost you anything to fill out.  There are companies out there that will help you complete it for a fee, but with the tools available on the FAFSA website it is possible to complete the application all by yourself at no charge.

The FAFSA is a federal student aid program and to be considered for aid you must apply.  To remain eligible for financial aid, you must complete to FAFSA every year you are in school. The application can be a little tricky, but if you fill out the form online at the FAFSA website there are helps along the way, as well a live chat option.

The 2016-2017 FAFSA season opened just a few days ago on January 1. 2016.  While the season is open for a year, fill out your FAFSA early to be eligible for funds – once the money is gone that’s it for the year.  Be sure to check with your college to see what their deadlines are.  Oftentimes a college or university will have a specific window in which the FAFSA must be submitted.

If you are a senior and are unfamiliar with the process, be on the lookout for FAFSA seminars in your area that will give you the necessary information for completing the application.

Even if you don’t have any experience or the opportunity to attend a seminar, all the information and help you need can be found at the Official FAFSA Website.

Many applicants feel the FAFSA is a waste of time because it is too hard to complete, they think they are too old, that their parents income is too high, or that their GPA is too low for them to receive any aid.  All of these are myths! 

Even if you don’t receive aid, many colleges look to see if a student has filled out the FAFSA to gauge the commitment of the student to attend college.  Also, many colleges will decide their own private aid based on a student’s FAFSA.  FAFSA funds are distributed based on need, not age or GPA.  To read these myth-busters, please visit Don't Fall For These Myths About Financial Aid .

Below are some key links from the FAFSA website that will help get you started and know what to do next:

  1. Understanding the FAFSA
  2. Getting Started and What Documents You’ll Need
  3. What Are the Next Steps After Submitting the Application 
  4. How Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) is Calculated 


The FAFSA is a significant milestone in college preparation.  I hope that I have given you the information and confidence you need to get started and check this item off your to-do list.  Please let me know how it goes by posting a comment.

Best wishes my friends,



***Help us get the word out about SchoolQuest™ by liking us on Facebook!   Please visit our Homeroom on-line community and join the discussion. We’d love to hear what your thoughts are about this important topic!  SchoolQuest™ is an initiative of the Military Child Education Coalition® (MCEC®).   Follow us on the MCEC® Twitter feed . . . for the sake of the child!  

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