STUDENTS submitting their college applications for the next academic year should be aware there is another related form that needs to be filled in too.
Students can apply to receive federal financial assistance to support the costs of their education.
What is FAFSA?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as FAFSA, is a form completed by current and prospective students to determine their eligibility for financial aid.
This includes student loans, grants, scholarships and federal work-study programs.
The application requires personal and financial information from students and their parents, and applies a unique formal to determine an ‘Expected Family Contribution’, known as an EFC.
If you meet the simple eligibility requirements, financial aid will then be calculated based on what school year you are in, enrollment status, cost of attendance, and the Expected Family Contribution.
FAFSA will distribute different funds to cover the costs of specific schools.
When is FAFSA due?
For the 2020/2021 academic year, the Federal FAFSA deadline is June 30, 2021.
The application is made available to students annually on October 1 for the future academic year, so that it falls at a similar time to college applications.
Students are encouraged to submit their forms as soon as possible as some financial aid is provided on a first-come-first-serve basis.
It is important to be aware of the differing college, state, and federal deadlines.
Can I make corrections after the deadline?
Once your FAFSA form is submitted, it will be distributed amongst the schools listen on the application.
Financial aid offices at each institution will then negotiate how much federal funding people qualify for, dependent upon their circumstance.
If you make a mistake on your form, there are a few ways to correct it.
You can make changes online at fafsa.gov by logging into your account and entering your FSA ID. Then, on the ‘MY FAFSA’ page, select ‘Make FAFSA Corrections’.
You can then simply create a save key, change your information, and submit your updated form.
Alternatively, you can write in the corrections on your physical paper form, sign it and mail it to the address provided to amend your application.
It is also worth contacting the financial aid office at the schools you have applied for as they may be able to make adaptions electronically.
When do I have to start paying FAFSA back?
After graduating from college, drop below half-time enrollment, or you leave school, your federal student loan needs to be paid back.
For most federal student loans, you have a six-month grace period before you are required to start making payments.
Those with a Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, or Federal Family Education Loan, have a six-month grace period before regular payments are required. Those with a Perkins Loan are granted a nine-month grace period.
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This allows you to become as financially secure as possible and choose an appropriate repayment plan that works for you,
Your servicer will automatically include you in the Standard Repayment Plan, that provides a schedule for the loan repayments, listing the frequency and amount of them.
It is important to be aware of what federal loan you have received and what repayment plan you are a part of.