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U.S. College Financial Aid: Important Points to Know

On October 1, 2019, the US opened the season for applying for state scholarships for college education (FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid). For these purposes, 150 billion dollars have been allocated - including grants, loans and tuition fees. Applicants must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Фото: Depositphotos

FAFSA funds are distributed in the order they are received, notes CNBC.

Sallie Mae recently interviewed 2 000 students and parents about whether they applied for FAFSA. According to the analysis, during the 2018-2019 academic year, only 25% of undergraduate students applied to FAFSA in the first month after the opening of applications, and only 77% of undergraduate students tried to apply for this assistance.

By not filling out applications for FAFSA, American college students are missing out on the opportunity to receive substantial financial compensation for expensive tuition. Federal grants do not need to be repaid, federal student loans have low interest rates, and employment programs can be a convenient way to finance education and create a resume at the same time.

As FAFSA funds are distributed as applications become available, families who plan their spending in advance are likely to receive assistance. According to Sallie Mae, 80% of students from families who earn from 35 000 to 100 000 dollars filled out applications for FAFSA, but among families receiving less, 75% did.

NerdWallet estimates that Pell Grant eligible students missed 2018 billion dollars in free FAFSA College support in 2,6 simply because they did not apply for FAFSA.

On the subject: How to enter college in the USA without money

In a Sallie Mae poll, the company asked the family why it refused to file FAFSA. Here's what they said:

They thought they were too rich

Among nearly a quarter of college students who did not apply, 40% said they did not think they could qualify for the program. In fact, there are no financial restrictions for those who want to apply for federal student assistance.

Charlie Javis, founder and CEO of internet platform Frank FAFSA, says that families who earn more than $ 250 are generally not eligible for grants or subsidized loans, but the vast majority of Americans earn less than that. “Being Too Rich” refers to only less than 000% of the US population. Everyone should apply. ”

They missed the deadline

The second most common reason students didn't fill out the FAFSA application was because they missed the deadline, and 15% of those who didn't fill out the form indicated this reason.

Each year there is a nine-month period during which students can apply for both the current and the next year. To avoid confusion, students should seek help as soon as possible for the upcoming school year.

Most students fill out the FAFSA online, but students who decide to fill out an application on paper must submit their documents so that the federal handler will review them by June 30. According to Edvisors, if the FAFSA application is received after the June 30 deadline, it will not be processed.


  • Students attending college from 1 July 2019 year to 30 June 2020 year can apply for FAFSA for 2019-2020 years from 1 October 2018 to 30 June 2020 using their tax information for 2017 year.
  • Students attending college from 1 July 2020 year to 30 June 2021 year can apply for FAFSA for 2020-2021 years from 1 October 2019 year to 30 June 2021 year using their tax information 2018 year.

Students must also ensure that they are aware of the deadlines for applying for financial assistance from their schools, states, and local governments. The Department of Education and Edvisors provide resources for students to check their local timelines.

On the subject: What state aid can a green card holder expect?

In their opinion, it is too complicated

Of those who did not fill out an application for FAFSA, 8% said that the application was too complicated, 9% said that they did not have time, and 10% said they did not have the necessary information necessary to fill out the form. To complete the FAFSA, students will need tax returns, information about their family’s bank accounts and assets, and the names of the colleges they are interested in.

Over the past decade, the Ministry of Education has taken steps to make the form simpler and more intuitive, with automatic error notifications when filled out incorrectly. From 2019 of the year you can apply even from a mobile phone.

To test these improvements, a CNBC journalist filled out an updated FAFSA form. It took about 5,5 minutes. The IRS data extraction tool allows students to automatically transfer information about their tax returns, so he did not have to search for their tax returns. The required banking information was limited, so it was not necessary to look for anything in the bank statements.

A spokesperson for Sallie Mae says it can take up to 30 minutes to complete the application, "but it's worth the effort."

They did not know about FAFSA

14% of those who did not apply for free federal assistance said they did not know about FAFSA.

The Department of Education says FAFSA online applications are usually processed within 3-5 days, and paper applications within 7-10 days. After processing the application, students should receive a copy of their student assistance report, which includes their expected family contribution and determines their eligibility for Pell grants. Aid report will be sent to the colleges that they listed in their FAFSA statement.

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