All Seniors Should Fill Out FAFSA

Most students plan on going to college after high school, if not some other secondary schooling. However, most of those who do plan on attending college can not afford tuition for college without some kind of help, whether it be federal aid, scholarships, or even their parents. The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. “Basically all seniors planning on college or a two year school should fill out the FAFSA”, says Kim Lauwers, Dimond’s Career Resource Center (CRC) director. “It’s free to sign up for it and it determines your qualifications for student aid. It will take into account your income, your parents’ income and crunches numbers to figure out your eligibility,” Lauwers continued. The earliest opportunity for a Senior to take the FAFSA is January 1 of the Senior year. When the FAFSA is filled out, it can serve as a double application and get students in the running for the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Alaska Performance Scholarship (or the APS). The FAFSA is the best way to get federal aid, and even if a student does not qualify for a federal loan, it opens up many more options for students. Federal loans and state loans are different things. State loans are only available to residents of said state. However, gripes about the FAFSA have been fabricated over the years. The reality is, it is not very hard to fill out and is worth doing so. Step one of the form includes personal questions to fill out such as name, address, social security number, state of residence, date of birth, license number and email address among other things. Step two of the FAFSA focuses on monetary importance, and asks questions about past tax returns, gross income for you and your family, balances and expenditures for the previous fiscal year. Step three is meant to determine if you will need to provide parental information. Question topics in this section include marriage, date of birth, the military, dependency, emancipation and family. Step four is only necessary if you answer “no” to all questions in section three. Most average graduating seniors will have to fill this section out. It has similar questions to section one, but regarding your parents. Step five only needs to be filled out if you answered “yes” to any questions during step three. It asks about number of people in your household, and will ask about any benefits you may have received from a federal program (e.g. Food stamps, reduced lunch, etc.) . Step six inquires about which colleges the student wants to receive your FAFSA information. The FAFSA can be filled out either as a hard copy or online. To reach the form, simply go to www.fafsa.gov.