There’s serious money on the line
Filing a FAFSA is the single most important thing you can do to get money for college. It’s the gateway to more than $150 billion in college grants, work-study funds, and federal student loans, as well as certain state-based aid.
Most students receive some type of financial aid, so apply 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 2014 and 2015, students left $2.7 billion in financial aid on the table. It’s so much money!
It’s free—and quick to complete
The first “F” in FAFSA stands for free. You don’t need to pay to file the FAFSA, so you want to watch out for sites that charge fees or make promises that sound too good to be true.
It takes about 21 minutes to complete your FAFSA application! That’s less time than it would take you to get caught up on your social media. The time you spend completing a FAFSA could translate into hundreds or even thousands of dollars that can help you pay for college.
It can be essential for some schools
The FAFSA isn’t just for people who want or need federal student loans. It’s also used 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.
Another pro-tip? The FAFSA is first-come, first-served. Apply as soon as you can to take advantage of federal aid for college.