Most students receive some type of financial aid, so you should fill out a FAFSA® application even if you don't think you qualify. Some families assume they won't qualify for financial aid and don't even bother completing the FAFSA®. This could be a huge mistake. In 2022, students left an estimated $3.6 billion in Pell Grants on the table by not submitting the FAFSA®.footnote 1
It’s free—and quick to complete
The first “F” in FAFSA® stands for free. You don’t need to pay to file it, so you want to watch out for sites that charge fees or make promises that sound too good to be true.
On top of being free, completing the FAFSA® is quicker than you think. The time you spend completing an application could translate into hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
It can be essential for some schools
The FAFSA® isn’t just for people who want or need federal student loans. Its purpose is also to determine aid you won't have to pay back, like college scholarships, grants, and even work-study funding.
Finally, some private scholarships require a FAFSA® as part of their application process. That's why completing one is so important!