Public Student Loans Q & A

What You Need To Know About The FAFSA

Q: Do I have to fill out the FAFSA if I want financial aid?

A: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is a mandatory prerequisite to receiving governmental assistance for a college education. Whether you are interested in applying for grants or federal student loans, you must complete the FAFSA each year to determine your eligibility. Read below to find out some common answers to frequently asked questions about the FAFSA as well as clearing up a few wrongful assumptions parents and students often have about this critical step.

Q: Do I have to fill out the FAFSA each year?

A: Yes! The FAFSA is a yearly requirement to obtaining federal aid. You must complete the application each year that you are enrolled in college to determine your eligibility.

Q: Is there an age limit for completing the FAFSA?

A: No. You can apply for and obtain federal aid no matter your current age.

Q: Do I need to fill out the FAFSA even if I don't plan on getting government loans?

A: Yes! It is important to fill out FAFSA because that is how most universities process scholarships.

Q: What if I don't need all the money that I am approved for by the FAFSA?

A: You'll want to make sure you inform your university of this before you register for classes. Find out the appropriate timeframe from your school, but it's typically at least a month in advance. If you do not change your desired loan amount, the total amount will be disbursed into your "account", and you will be responsible for it.

Q: Do I need to have high grades to get federal assistance for my education?

A: The FAFSA is a step you take to help pay for college, not to gain admission. The majority of programs that give federal aid will not consider your high school grades when making decisions about your eligibility. While maintaining good grades and standing in college will help you to continue being eligible for aid each year, you do not have to meet a certain criteria upon application.

Q: If my parents can afford tuition, could I still qualify for federal aid?

A: The truth is that federal student aid programs do not have a cutoff when it comes to your parents' income. Eligibility is determined through a variety of factors and not only financial wealth. If your parents are offering to finance a portion of your education, you may still need additional funds to cover the remaining costs. Options like unsubsidized Stafford and Parent Plus loans can help you to cover these costs and are not based on financial need.

Q: If I pay for financial advice, will I be able to get more federal student aid?

A: There are many programs and companies that offer empty promises regarding how much money they can get you in aid. In reality, you can get terrific help from your high school career counselors and the financial aid office of your college at no cost. Plus, the Certified Financial Counselors at BMI Federal Credit Union are happy to assist our members with your FAFSA questions free of charge!

Q: If I support myself, is my parents' information necessary for completing the FAFSA?

A: Whether your parents' information needs to be included for FAFSA completion is based on your dependency status. You must answer specific questions on the application to determine if you are dependent or independent. Independent students do not need to use their parents' info.