Oct 10, 2019 Alyssa Pascarella

8 Need to Know FAFSA Facts

It's time to start applying for financial aid for college. Which means, FAFSA season is here and can be overwhelming to many. So, let’s break this down into the basic need to know facts one-by-one.

Facts about the FAFSA

FACT #1:

The FAFSA is completely free to fill out and submit

It’s even in the name “Free” Application for Federal Student Aid


FACT #2:

You can submit your FAFSA application as EARLY as October 1st

 Two reasons why you should fill out your FAFSA, ASAP!
  • Your schools will be able to provide you with award letters sooner, leaving you with more time to compare all your schools awards offers
  • You will have more time to research other options to help fill the “gap”

FACT #3:

Completing the FAFSA can qualify you for “Free Money”, it is true not everyone will qualify but you will not know until you try

Often referred to as "gift aid" because it doesn't have to be repaid, grants and scholarships can come from the federal government, state government, college/university, or private organization. Almost all of the grants listed below are based off of financial need. You must fill out the FAFSA every year in order to remain eligible to receive federal student aid.
You can also be eligible for federal loans by filling out the FAFSA, so don’t mistake those for “free money”

FACT #4:

In Rhode Island alone, over $8 Million dollars in Pell Grants went unused in academic year 2020-2021


FACT #5:

FAFSA is also used by schools in determining Institutional Aid

There are many programs that give out money that have different eligibility requirements.  Schools require the FAFSA when awarding institutional aid if they are not requiring completion of the CSS Profile.

FACT #6:

FAFSA is used to determine Work -Study eligibility

Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. Students can get work-study positions in some offices across campus, the mail room, the library, the dining hall, etc. Be sure to apply to these positions early as these jobs fill up quick!
Here’s a quick overview of Federal Work-Study:
  • It provides part-time employment while you are enrolled in school
  • It’s available to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students with financial need
  • It’s available to full-time or part-time students
  • It’s administered by schools participating in the Federal Work-Study Program

FACT #7:

You should file your FAFSA every year, even if you didn’t qualify for aid the previous year

  • Federal aid is granted on a yearly basis, FAFSA completion is required every year for aid to be granted year to year
  • Your aid eligibility can change from the previous year, a change in family income for example or an additional sibling attending college are some of the factors taken into consideration

FACT #8:

The College Planning Center will help you complete your FAFSA for free

Get expert guidance to complete and submit your FAFSA and/or CSS Profile, turning a long, painful process into a stress free one. The appointment will take approximately 30 minutes of your time. Our CPC experts are here to help. Check your school’s website for the filing deadline. Book an appointment today to get an early start on applying for financial aid. Click here to view the list of items needed for FAFSA completion.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Some schools also require completion of the CSS Profile form, administered by the College Board.  Many private colleges and universities requie this additional form to determine aid eligibility for non-government federal financial aid.  Check the website for the schools you are interested in applying at to see if that is required. The College Planning Center can assist with completion of this form in addition to the FAFSA.

The College Planning center also offers financial planning and FAFSA completion information nights at many local high schools. See our list of scheduled events. Check back often for updates to our schedule.

Published by Alyssa Pascarella October 10, 2019