FAFSA

FAFSA- Free Application for Federal Student Aid

The FAFSA is a document that all college-bound Seniors should fill out, regardless of the school the student plans to attend or the perceived need for financial aid. It is the document that all post-secondary education locations use to determine a student’s eligibility for need-based aid such as scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study. Some post-secondary institutions even use it to help determine the amount of merit-based scholarships, so it is something that everybody needs to file. In order to fill out the FAFSA, the student will need access to his/her most recent tax returns (if s/he worked) and their parents’ most recent tax returns. Once the FAFSA is complete and submitted, it will determine an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is the amount the family is expected to pay out of pocket towards their student’s education. That EFC is then sent to the college or colleges of the student’s choice. The college will then send the student an award letter, delineating the amount of financial aid and in what form s/he will be receiving.

The FAFSA now opens October 1 of your high school student’s senior year. Your student is more likely to receive higher aid amounts the earlier it is filed. In fact, students attending post-secondary institutions in the state of Kansas need to have their FAFSA submitted by March 1, of the senior year in order to meet most schools’ priority deadlines. Missing this deadline can significantly lower or even mean that aid isn’t available to the student.

Every post-secondary institution handles financial aid differently. For specifics on your student’s financial aid, families need to be in contact with their college’s financial aid office. For general information on financial aid, your student’s high school counselor is a great source.

For more information about the FAFSA, go to https://fafsa.ed.gov/help.htm.