The FAFSA - What You Need to Know

fafsaGoing back to college after a long break can be tough. Technology is always evolving, teaching methods change, and being in class with younger students can be discouraging. Aside from these classroom obstacles, another major concern for nontraditional students is tuition. Thanks to Federal Student Aid, however, paying for college may not as challenging as you might think.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) uses a variety of data to determine a student’s financial need so that the government can assist with paying your college tuition. Eligibility for loans, grants and scholarships for younger students is determined by their parents’ income. For students age 24 and older, however, eligibility is based on their own financial situation.

Even if you think you have enough money to cover your educational expenses, there are still two main reasons for non-traditional students to fill out the FAFSA:

1. It’s Not Just For Loans
While the FAFSA does determine how much a student can be awarded in loans, it also determines how much aid a student can get in grants and scholarships – a.k.a. free money. Plus, non-traditional students often receive additional funding that younger students are not entitled to in order to accommodate their expenses.

2. Financial Aid Awards Can Increase Over Time
Life changes that can impact your financial situation get taken into account each year that you file. Unexpected costly events, like getting divorced, sending a child to college, or getting fired can adjust aid awards to better cover your new expenses.

Have you filled out a FAFSA before? Tell us about it in the comments!

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