We sometimes find that students don’t fill out the FAFSA because they think they’re not eligible, won’t get any financial aid, that it’s too complicated, or that it only impacts federal aid. We’ve busted these myths and more. Filling out the FAFSA has many benefits. Fill it out now so you don’t risk missing out free money or low-interest student loans!
Myth #1: I’ll never qualify for any financial aid because my family makes too much.
Almost everyone qualifies for some type of aid, even if it is a loan. The federal government doesn’t have an income cutoff for financial aid, so you won’t know what you’ll qualify for unless you file the FAFSA. There’s a lot more that’s considered than income, such as the size of your family, whether your parents are close to retirement, whether you have siblings in college, and the price of tuition at the schools you’re applying to.
When you apply for the FAFSA, you are applying for both need-based aid (the Pell Grant, Federal Work Study programs, Federal Grants and subsidized loans) as well as non-need-based aid (unsubsidized student loans, the Parent PLUS Loan. and Grad PLUS Loan). Even if you aren’t eligible for need-based federal aid, you’ll still want to file a FAFSA to get access to some student loans, and any aid that PSU may award that requires a FAFSA.
Myth #2: The FAFSA is so complicated that it’s not worth the trouble.
Again, if you don’t fill it out, you can’t reap the rewards. You can save yourself at least part of the headache by skipping the intimidating paper version and filling out the FAFSA online. There is even a FAFSA app you can download on your phone. You’ll also have an easier time if you (or in the case of dependent students, your parents) have everything you need on hand, including your most recent tax return. You can use estimates based on a previous year’s taxes if you or your parents haven’t filed yet, but filing your taxes first will save you from having to update the FAFSA later.
Myth #3: The FAFSA only affects my federal student aid.
While it’s true that filling out a FAFSA is the only way you’ll be able to receive federal student aid, Portland State University (and many other schools) also uses the FAFSA to assess your eligibility for non-federal aid programs like Four Years Free, Transfers Finish Free, and a number of other programs. Private and state organizations that award scholarships and grants often also use the FAFSA to help determine your eligibility.
Don’t miss out, submit the FAFSA today!