If you have a child in college or heading there this fall, have you filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid yet?
Many parents never do file it.
In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Education less than 55% of high school seniors compete the FAFSA. That’s a depressing statistic when you consider that low and middle-income students have a 25% to 30% greater chance of enrolling in college if they file the FAFSA.
I’m sharing with you a map that breaks down what the FAFSA completion rate is for each state. The darker the blue, the higher the completion rate. Here is a screen shot of the interactive map. You can access the real map by clicking this FAFSA Completion link.
Here are the main reasons why you should submit this important federal financial aid form:
1. People assume that they make too much money or have too many assets to receive need-based aid so they don’t fill out the FAFSA. Plenty of these parents are just w-r-o-n-g. If you don’t know what your Expected Family Contribution is, you should find out before you diss the FAFSA. If your EFC is lower than the cost of the schools your child applies to, you should absolutely file the FAFSA.
3. You also won’t be eligible to borrow via the federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans. These loans are the best for students to use because they have a safety net for graduates who are unemployed or underemployed. The latest and best repayment program for federal student loans is called Pay As You Earn.
4. Without the FAFSA, you almost certainly won’t qualify for state financial aid. If you are going to file the FAFSA, do it now. The deadline for aid in some states like California has already passed. And some states dispense money until it run out.
5. You won’t get need-based aid from the school your child attends. Some private schools and a handful of state schools also require filing the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE to qualify for institutional need-based aid. A minority of schools, such as the Georgia Institute of Technology, want a student you to file the FAFSA to qualify for merit aid that’s given regardless of a family’s finances.
6. Without filing the FAFSA, your child won’t be eligible for a work-study job. The FAFSA asks if the student is interested in a work-study position. You should always check this box if your child would like a campus job. There is no obligation, however, to get one. At some schools, all or most of the students positions are reserved for work study.