College is one of those things that you have to have a lot of preparation for. You (or your child) needs to go through SAT preparation, take the SAT’s, get good grades, visit all of these colleges, talk to different people at these colleges (especially if athletics will be part of the college experience for you or your child) and apply for scholarships.
But, it’s January now. You’ve figured out the college you’re attending, got through pharmacy school admissions, told them that you’re coming, and you think you’re done with it, right? Wrong! Obtaining financial aid is your next step. It all starts with filling out the FAFSA.
What is the FAFSA?
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Basically, it’s an application that a future college student fills out in order to apply for different forms of aid. Some schools base their scholarships on this application, but for the most part, it’s for state and federal grants and loans. It’s how the government knows who needs money and who doesn’t. It’s based on your taxes from the previous year, so you’ll need to have them done before you can even think about starting the FAFSA.
How to Fill Out the FAFSA
Honestly, the FAFSA is incredibly self-explanatory. It asks for numbers directly off of your taxes and tells you where to find them. Most of the time, they want both your taxes and your parents’ taxes. In cases where your parents are divorced, then you use the taxes of the parent that takes care of you financially. This means that you’re going to be able to get your hands on a lot of options and that you can just send it out as quickly as you possibly can. Then, you can spend more time looking for things like scholarships and grants that will help you get to college with some financial aid help.
What Will the FAFSA Give You?
The FAFSA not only tells you how much that you’re eligible for, but it can also give you some insight as to what other types of financial aid may be out there for you. In some cases, your school may also use it in order to help you find scholarships and other forms of aid that your specific school has to offer. It can also help your parents to know what options that they have to help you out, allowing you to get the most money possible and making it a lot more affordable than it would have been otherwise. If you’re a nontraditional student (26 or older), it can also help to point you toward helpful opportunities as well.
There are a lot of details that you’re going to need to work out in regards to your financial aid, and while you’re doing that, you want to be sure that you do your research and see what people have to say. Explore what options that you have available and see what’s out there. Your FAFSA is the first step to making all of this into the reality you deserve to have.