Do you know the facts about applying for federal aid, or is your understanding of the process based on what you've heard?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid – or more commonly known as the FAFSA – is just that: a form all students should complete to apply for financial aid for college or graduate school. There are no requirements to apply, and the FAFSA should be completed for every year you attend college, whether you received aid the year before or not.
With those simple facts out of the way, let's explore some common FAFSA myths (originally debunked from studentaid.gov themselves) a bit further:
My parents make too much money, so I won't qualify for aid.
Here are three reason to apply even if you think your parents make too much money:
- There is no income cut-off to qualify for federal student aid.
- Multiple factors, like the size of your family and your year in school, are considered.
- You're not just applying for federal aid! When you fill out the FAFSA, you're also automatically applying for funds from your state and from the Mount.
Don't make assumptions about financial support for college based on your parent's salary – fill out the FAFSA to find out.
Only students with good grades get financial aid.
Not exactly – While we value a high grade point average, and base many important factors on your GPA (such as academic scholarships), most of the federal student aid programs don't even take your grades into consideration. As long as you maintain satisfactory academic progress in your program of study throughout college, federal student aid will help you complete your education.
My parents aren't U.S. citizens, so there's no way I'll get aid.
Attention – myth being busted:
Your parents' citizenship status is not a factor, and the FAFSA form won't even ask you about it. If your parents don't have Social Security numbers, they must enter 000-00-0000 when the FAFSA form asks for their Social Security numbers.
The FAFSA takes forever to fill out, and it's really hard to do.
Reality check – If you've got 30 minutes, you can make this happen. That's about how long it takes to fill out the FAFSA. It's also not as hard as you might think. Read the questions carefully, and follow the instructions. You've got this!
I can't file my FAFSA, because I haven't applied to the Mount yet.
That's just not the truth, friends!
You can complete your form before submitting your application. Even though we know your top school is the Mount, you can list multiple schools you're considering on your FAFSA whether you've applied or not.
While you're at it, might as well apply to the Mount today!
I didn't qualify for financial aid last year, so filling out the FAFSA again is just a waste of time.
Nope, not true!
It's super important to fill out your FAFSA every year you're in college, because things can change: your school or state might create a new grant or scholarship, or the factors used to calculate your aid could change from one year to the next.
Whether you received aid the year before or not, you need to fill out the FAFSA every new academic year.
It costs money to submit the FAFSA.
FALSE! Read this very carefully: You n e v e r have to pay to complete the FAFSA when you go to fafsa.gov. If you're paying a fee, you're not on the official government website, and you're not applying for financial aid.
So, the next time you find yourself with 30 minutes to spare – complete your FAFSA, and you'll be one step closer to attending the Mount this fall. We can't wait to welcome you!