FAFSA for first-timers


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The FAFSA is a major checkpoint in a senior’s application to colleges. Students need to complete its many questions to receive federal money for college.

There are many steps seniors have to take to get into college. While some steps are more well-known, such as filling out the Common App or writing essays, others are less so. For example, there is one essential but potentially overlooked point that seniors must check off their list before they can be accepted by colleges – the FAFSA. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

“It is a federal student aid for people going into college,” Emma Shadow (12) said.

While some students think FAFSA applies to only certain people, the FAFSA must be completed by everyone planning to attend college.

“You cannot get into school without it. All your schools are going to be like ‘Have you filled out the FAFSA yet?’ before they even let you apply,” Ke’yonna Moore (12) said.

The FAFSA has an online application in which the government assesses a student’s expected family contribution and subsequent need for financial aid. In order to discern how much federal money is available to each student, students have to fill out this form.

“You have to go to the FAFSA website, and then you have to create an account, and then you have to enter in all your tax information, your parents’ information, and then they [the government] get back to you about how much you get,” Shadow said.

Students have to choose schools to send their FAFSA to after completing the application.

“You have to pick the colleges you want them to send the FAFSA…your information to. You get to pick like ten schools,” Moore said. “But you have to make sure that the ten schools that you send it to, one of those schools is the school that you’re actually going to go to.”

After the FAFSA is filled out and sent off to each school they are applying to, students can breathe a sigh of relief. One more aspect of their college checklist is finished — onto the next.