A college education can set you up for a bright future, increased earnings, and a fulfilling career, but it will be one of the most expensive purchases you’ll ever make. To make it work for you financially, you need to think strategically. This game of chess you’re playing has the potential to save you a small fortune if you play correctly.
Most students will need some sort of financial aid to be able to afford college. The first step they should take is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA. This may be your best bet for securing financial aid, even if you think your family will make too much money to get any aid.
If you only fill out one application for college financial aid, the FAFSA is the one you should pick. It offers access to the most beneficial financial aid for higher education.
It will give you access to Pell Grants, as well as some state grants. Grants are the number one type of aid you want to secure because, unlike loans, you don’t have to pay them back. Also, because of your FAFSA application, you can have access to low-interest student loans that have various repayment options to suit multiple situations.
And the sooner students fill out the FAFSA – ideally by the time they graduate – the more they’ll know about their finances for college. That gives them more time to come up with a plan or seek additional financial aid so they can get the money together to attend school.
While would-be borrowers who fill out the FAFSA can get big money for their efforts, the participation rate could be improved with some estimates saying 1.5 million of high school graduates failed to fill it out.
So getting the word out about the FAFSA has become a high priority, as well as helping students understand how to fill out the application and teaching them about financial aid overall. Because college is such a huge expense, students need to become savvier about it. Here are some efforts that are underway to increase the usage and understanding of FAFSA:
Our goal is to make higher education a possibility for every American, without regard to their financial circumstances.
We have a lot to do and not much time to do it, so your support is critical for our campaign to succeed. It’s with your investment that we can fundamentally reform how higher education is financed in this country, opening the doors to a more equitable society.
If you agree with our goal, our plan, and the urgency of the problem, we ask that you give what you can to help us write the next chapter in our nation’s history of continuously expanding access to universal, free education.