The average person preparing to apply for financial aid and face the process of weighing out all the available options certainly does not have all the answers. If you are struggling with the financial aid process, and are finding yourself in a bind over all of the research and applications, don't sweat it. There are plenty of ways to make the financial aid process easier, and one of the most important ways is to get help. Don't feel like you have to face the process of getting money for school without any outside assistance. Here are some answers to a few frequently asked financial aid questions that may steer you in the right direction:

  • Do I have to reapply for financial aid each year?
  • -- YES! Pretty much every financial aid office requires that you resubmit your financial aid status each year in order to ensure that you are getting the right amount of money for your financial situation. Personal funding can change drastically in a year, which may in turn change how much aid you receive. Renewal Applications contain information from the previous year's FAFSA with a handful of new questions, so they don't take nearly as long to fill out.
  • Should I still apply for financial aid even if I think I don't qualify?
  • Again, YES. Many people think they don't qualify for aid when, in reality, they do. By not applying, they completely miss their chance to receive any aid at all. Loans such as the Stafford and PLUS loans are not need-based loans, so they're always available to anyone. The FAFSA form is also free, and lets you know how much federal financial aid you qualify for. There is really no reason at all not to apply.
  • Can I submit my FAFSA before January 1st?
  • No, because to calculate the need for financial aid, the FAFSA uses the income and tax information from a family's most recent tax year to judge loan eligibility. The most recent tax year ends on December 31st, so that information does not become set in stone until that date. Any FAFSA submitted before January 1st will not be accepted.
  • Where can I get the FAFSA form?
  • School counselors should provide copies of this form, but you can also get them at any financial aid office at colleges or libraries. You can also go online to www.fafsa.ed.gov to get an online version.
  • How long should I wait to send in the FAFSA after January 1st?
  • You should send in the FAFSA as soon as possible! Since most federal financial aid plays off a first come, first serve basis, the longer you wait the less amount of financial aid you will be eligible to receive. You may also miss the deadline for state financial aid if you wait too long, which will take away that opportunity of aid as well.
  • Do I need to be accepted to a college or university before applying for financial aid?
  • No - you only need to be enrolled at a school to receive money. You can submit financial aid applications at any time after January 1st. Most schools require you fill out the FAFSA form anyway, so the sooner you do that, the better.

Categories: Financial Aid | Financial Aid Applications | FAFSA
Tags: fafsa questions fafsa renewal financial aid

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