Why Should I File a FAFSA?

16 Feb

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator & Purdue Alumna
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

Clock with text overlay: Why Should I File a FAFSA?

So now that you know what financial aid is and have looked over the resources we provided you two weeks ago, but you’re still not sure if you should file a FAFSA. Here is some additional information that may help you decide why you should to file a FAFSA.

Loans

If you’re unsure because you don’t know if you would qualify for anything, file anyway! Students are eligible for federal loans regardless of their Expected Family Contribution (EFC). These loans consist of Stafford and Parent or Graduate PLUS Loans but you have to file a FAFSA in order to qualify for them each year.

Federal Work Study

Interested in getting a job this year? Filing a FAFSA can make you eligible for Federal Work Study; this is money you can earn through a part-time job on your college’s campus. Like federal loans, you cannot receive Federal Work Study without filing a FAFSA. There is even a box to check on the FAFSA to show that you’re interested in receiving Federal Work Study, if you’re eligible as Federal Work Study does have an EFC requirement. Many jobs here at Purdue either require or prefer that their student employees qualify for Federal Work Study as it is a major benefit to them; the larger portion of your wages are paid for by the federal funding your receiving and your employer may only have to pay 30% of your wages. As said before, there is a need-based component to Federal Work Study, but you’ll never know if you’re eligible if you don’t file a FAFSA.

Scholarships

Many colleges have scholarships that are merit-based, but require that you have a FAFSA on file. So if you don’t file a FAFSA, you could be out of the running for some scholarship money.

Filing on Time

Another very important component of filing your FAFSA is filing it “on-time.” For Indiana residents, the “on-time” deadline is March 10th for any State aid consideration. For Purdue University, the “on-time” priority filing date is March 1st. You need to have your FAFSA in by this date in order to receive the maximum amount of aid for which you are eligible. If you are currently receiving any State aid, your FAFSA must be filed by March 10th in order to receive your State aid that year; this includes the 21st Century Scholarship, Frank O’Bannon Higher Education Awards, and the National Guard Supplemental Grant. Also, if you’re currently receiving a Child of Disabled Veteran’s and Officer’s (CVO/CDV) Fee Remission, you have to have a FAFSA filed every year in order to maintain eligibility.

Purdue students will want to file their FAFSA by March 1st to meet Purdue’s priority filing deadline. Incoming freshmen to Purdue who filed their FAFSA by this date or “on-time” can expect to receive their financial aid award mid-March and continuing students at Purdue who filed “on-time” can expect to receive their financial aid award mid-June. Feeling anxious? You can also check out the CollegeBoard Net Price Calculator to get an estimate of the aid you might be eligible for at Purdue.

The Purdue University Division of Financial Aid has also created a step-by-step guide on How to Apply for Financial Aid checklist on their website.

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