What is the FAFSA?
Understanding College Financial Aid
Earning a college education is one of the best investments in your future. Today,
college students face a "perfect storm" – college tuition is climbing, the economy
is weakening, and credit is tightening. Figuring out how to pay for a college education
is more challenging than ever before. But one thing hasn't changed – filling out
the government's aid form is still complicated and time-consuming.
Recent studies have shown that many "non-traditional students" (part-time adult
students who are working full-time while pursuing a quality education at a college,
university, or institution of higher education) typically do not apply for federal
financial aid. Many students are under the assumption that federal aid is reserved
for the younger, more traditional student. However, federal financial aid generally
does not have any age restrictions and is available for many types of higher education
programs, including technical, trade, part-time, and online.
Fortunately, more than $200 billion in financial aid is available to help pay for
college. Filing your federal financial aid application, known as the FAFSA, is the
first step in applying for more than 90% of this money.
Completing the FAFSA
The federal government grants need-based aid to students of all ages pursuing many
different degree types, provided that they qualify for a minimum of a "half-time" attendance. This student
aid is awarded based on an intricate financial analysis. How much you can expect
to receive depends on your financial situation and your Expected Family
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form that the U.S. Department
of Education (ED) requires to determine your EFC. The government conducts a "need
analysis" based on financial information such as income, assets, and other family
information, all of which you will be asked to provide on your application. To be considered for federal financial
aid, you must submit a FAFSA on time.
The FAFSA is the application most colleges use to determine eligibility for federal,
state, and college-sponsored financial aid, including grants and educational loans.
Additionally, most states, colleges, and universities use the FAFSA to award other
types of aid, including state- and college-sponsored financial aid like grants and
Simplifying the FAFSA Process with TuitionHelp™
The FAFSA is a complicated application that takes time to complete. Many students
often make mistakes when filling out their application – mistakes that cost them
thousands of dollars in federal financial aid.
To help simplify this process and ensure that you maximize your eligibility for student aid, your
TuitionHelp™ Student Aid Advisor will walk you through the application from beginning
to end. To start this process, your Advisor will collect the required personal financial and academic
information from you over the phone in as little as 20 minutes!
Nearly every student is eligible for some form of financial aid, including a low-interest
Federal Direct Loan, regardless of income or circumstances, provided that you:
- are a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or an eligible non-citizen;
- have a valid Social Security number;
- have a high school diploma or GED;
- are registered with the U.S. Selective Service (if you are a male age 18 to 25);
- complete a FAFSA promising to use any federal aid for educational purposes;
- do not owe refunds on any federal student grants;
- are not in default on any student loans; and
- have not been found guilty of the sale or possession of illegal drugs during a period
when you received federal student aid.
Federal aid is limited and much of it is offered on a first-come, first-served basis,
so the earlier you file, the better your chances of accessing the most financial
Since many states, colleges, and universities have filing deadlines as early as
the first weeks in January, filing your application as close to January 1st is highly
recommended. Your TuitionHelp™ Student Aid Advisor can assist you in understanding
and meeting your deadlines.