As college financial planners, we get this question a lot: “I think my income is too high for financial aid. Is it really worth my time to fill out the FAFSA?” To answer that question, let’s dig into the details.
For those that don’t know, the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA is a financial aid form filled out by college students to determine financial aid eligibility. For high income households, it can seem like a waste of time when looking at it from the outside view. However, here’s 5 reasons why you may want to give the FAFSA another look:
- Not all households are the same – Special circumstances can make need based financial aid a possibility while they may have a high income. For divorced households or those with multiple children in college at the same time, these scenarios can help to reduce your “expected family contribution” and increase your opportunity for need based financial aid
- Thousands of dollars at stake, may take an hour to complete – If you think about the investment of your child’s college education, it’s likely hundreds of thousands of dollars. Filling out the FAFSA form takes roughly an hour for most families but opens the door for the possibility of thousands of dollars in financial aid
- Everyone wins – Even if you fill out the form and your child won’t qualify for need based aid, they will receive the opportunity for a federal student loan. These loans are typically at some of the lowest interest rates available and are a great resource for families looking to give their children “a bit of skin in the game” when it comes to paying for college. These loans are lower dollar amounts ($5,500 for Freshman) but can help to pay for college in a financially efficient manner
- Possibility to help with admissions - On the FAFSA you list the top 10 schools to send your financial info to. In states like Massachusetts, state schools have access to this list. Adding a school to the FAFSA shows your interest in attending and may assist in your child’s chances of admission
- Impact on merit scholarships – Schools that offer merit scholarships automatically consider students who submit the FAFSA for merit-based awards. While not all merit scholarships will be impacted by filling out the FAFSA, you may be closing the door on possible merit-based awards by not completing the FAFSA
Rethinking filling out the FAFSA? Your deadline to submit for this year is June 30, 2022.
For your question on paying for college and filling out the FAFSA, feel free to reach out. I’m here to help.
All the best,
Andrew Holmes, Certified College Planning Specialist™