Most students will need some type of financial aid to afford college. Yet each year, millions of students fail to complete the FAFSA and apply for financial aid for which they qualify. Financial aid can come in the form of grants, scholarships, work study and loans.
According to Inside Higher Ed, a recent study conducted by National Center for Education Services (NCES), only 65% of students entering college completed the FAFSA. Of the groups that did not complete the FAFSA, "32 percent thought they or their family may be ineligible or may not qualify for financial aid; 28 percent did not want to take on debt; [and] 23 percent did not have enough information about how to complete a FAFSA." About 9 percent did not complete the FAFSA because they thought the effort was too time-consuming.
The truth is, the FAFSA is not as complicated as most people think. Yes, the online form takes close to an hour to complete. Yes, it requires information about your family's finances (assets, income and information found on your parent's tax returns). However, the FAFSA is something you will only complete once a year. Remember to complete it every year you are in college.
To access financial aid, follow the three steps below. Some private colleges may require the CSS PROFILE in addition to the FAFSA.
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To complete the FAFSA and apply for financial aid, please visit the Federal Student Aid website -- sponsored by the US Department of Education.