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Education • Dedication • Life

A FAFSA FYI: What You Should Know Before Applying for Student Aid

Posted by Christopher LeBlanc on Jun 28, 2016 3:15:07 PM

With the June 30 deadline for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) quickly approaching, time is running out for students who need financial help for the 2016-2017 academic year.

If you’re among those who haven’t finished, or you’re having a hard time navigating the somewhat cumbersome application process, here are a few FAFSA facts you should know before you apply for financial aid.

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You may be eligible for “free” money. 

Filing your FAFSA is considered your application for a myriad of education funding options, from student loans to grants. Unlike loans, grants do not have to be paid back and eligibility is often dependent on income.

What’s more, millions of students each year who qualify for need-based grants (like the Federal Pell Grant) miss out on benefits because they simply did not apply.

Photo Courtesy of CreativeCommons.                                

Federal student loans often trump private ones.

If you’re in a situation in which student loans are necessary, you’ll likely want to choose the federal, rather than private, route.

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Photo Courtesy of CreativeCommons.

Unlike with private or institutional loans, federal loans offer protections and benefits not available from other sources. These benefits include deferred or delayed (and income-based) repayment options, fixed interest rates that are often lower than private lenders), no-interest subsidized loans for those who qualify, and the possibility of loan forgiveness depending on your profession.

Federal loans also offer increased leniency for borrowers who are financially unable to make payments for brief periods of time.

Before you start, make sure you have all your documentation.

Unless you are above age 25, married, a veteran, or you meet a few other qualifications, you are considered a dependent student. Thus, most undergraduate students will need parent or guardian vital information—including date of birth Social Security Number, marital status, financial information, and tax returns, among others--in order to compplete the application.

It is important that your FAFSA is complete and accurate. So to save yourself time and headache, make sure you have your paperwork in order ahead of time.

Stay abreast of any changes to FAFSA regulations.

There are a handful of changes to regulations that will go into effect for the 2016-2017 academic year. The most significant changes deal with “asset protections” for parents or guardians and tax returns necessary for FAFSA completion.

While these changes don’t seem like they pertain to you as a student, changes to asset protections could mean the difference between being eligible for grants and having to go into student loan debt. So be sure to talk through changes with your financial aid advisor and your parents.

While the financial aid process may seem a bit arcane for many, it is important that students fill out FAFSA applications as early as possible to ensure their education finances are in order.

For more info about the FAFSA, click the link below to download our free eBook.

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Topics: Boston Campus, Boston Student Experience, Boston DAPS, Financial Aid, Day Student Posts

Fisher College DAPS

Division of Accelerated & Professional Studies

Fisher College first opened its doors in 1903 in the predominantly working-class city of Somerville, Massachusetts, just two miles north of Boston. The school was founded on the belief that the immigrants of that city should have an opportunity to advance beyond unskilled labor jobs.

The Division of Accelerated and Professional Studies was established in 1975 to serve the adult population of Eastern Massachusetts, with branch locations in:

  • Boston
  • Brockton
  • North Attleborough
  • New Bedford

The Fisher Online division began in 1998, and currently serves students from all over the United States and around the world.

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