By Alyssa Daniels
When students finally make it to their senior year, there is excitement about graduating and stress about colleges and financial aid. One huge thing seniors can do to help themselves with money is to apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This helps students get grants or loans to help pay for schooling.
WCHS counselor Haley Armstrong discussed the purpose of FAFSA and why students should apply for it.
“The FAFSA is a Free Application for Federal Student Aid and the purpose of that is for any student who is going to post-secondary education or two year or four year program to allow them access to grants and loans that’ll help them apply for financial aid for school,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong explained that there are multiple ways that a student may apply for a grant/loan. There are two ways of filling out the application, online or printing the form out and mailing it. The application can be found at studentaid.ed.gov. Students can also apply for a Federal-Work Study Program that provides jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial needs, allowing them to help pay for college expenses, according to Scholarships.com.
“There are two ways to apply; the most common way is online. So there is an online application if they go to the federal student aid website to get a student ID and apply through there. They can also print and mail in the application but that is pretty rare and I wouldn’t recommend doing that, I would recommend just doing it online,” Armstrong said.
Since this is a government document, there are requirements when applying for this grant/loan. IUPUI admissions counselor, Melissa Myroup, discussed what the requirements are for the FAFSA when filling it out.
“You must be a US citizen and you need to have you and your parents’ (if under 23) tax information available when filing,” Myroup said.
If some students are confused on how the FAFSA works and what it does, Myroup went into detail on how the FAFSA works.
“The FAFSA uses family size and income to determine expected family contribution. From there, it provides grants, loans and work study options for students to help finance their education,” Myroup said.
Financial Aid can either be in the form of a grant or a loan. If it is in the form of a loan, it must be paid back, but if it is in the form of a grant, they are just giving the money to the students, so it doesn’t have to be paid back. An example Armstrong gave was, “…let’s say $20,000 for the school year, you can only accept a portion of that or none of it or all of it, but whatever you are accepting in the form of a loan, you do have to pay back.”
Senior Cloe Ellis is undecided on where she plans to go, but is in the process of applying for the FAFSA. She explained why she is applying for and what she hopes it does for her.
“FAFSA will help save me money and hopefully not be in debt for as long after I graduate college,” Ellis said.
During or after filling out the FAFSA, applicants can go online, at fafsa.ed.gov/FAFSA/app/f4cForm?execution=e1s1, to get an estimate on what aid they’ll receive. This website isn’t completely exact; it’s an estimate. The deadline for applying is June 30, 2019, but it’s always better to fill it out now rather than waiting.