FAFSA: 5 Tips When Paying for College

By Mohamud Abdi and Tubias Johnson

It is very important for future college students to understand the importance of finding ways to pay for college. College can be very expensive if students do not choose to play the game smart. Don’t end up finishing college with a huge amount of debt to pay. Understand Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and how it works.

 Illustration By  Najee Person

Illustration By Najee Person

                               What is FAFSA anyway?

FAFSA is used to determine the amount of money a family is expected to contribute to the price of attending a college/university. After providing necessary documents, Student Financial Aid Offices at the college/university decide how much money can be awarded to the student.

The factors in determining student costs include:

  • Pell Grants
  • Work-Study
  • Loans
  • Scholarships

What do I need to apply?

  • Social Security Card
  • Drivers Licence or Proof of Residence
  • W2 Forms
  • Income Tax Returns
  • Any Bank Statements( from either you or guardian)

What should I be aware of?

  • Third party sites: When applying online be sure to avoid third party sites. They will try to charge you complete steps in the application(Isn’t free in the name): Third party sites are screamers!  Examples: FAFSA.biz Fafsa.com
  • Giving your name: Just because someone says they can get you money does not mean it is trustworthy. Be cautious of who you give your name to, identity theft is a growing con, and can happen at any time to anyone.
  • Discovering from search engines: Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and  Bing are amazing. They have the ability to find you millions of results with just a few words. However, when attempting to get sources for FAFSA, grants, and scholarships you want your results to be limited as possible. The only guaranteed way to get credible results to resources is to find the URL. Students can be directed to fill out or complete the FAFSA application at the official FAFSA website. Once you get to the main site you will be asked to either sign up for an account or sign in and after that you can navigate your way to the form and fill it out there.

Hopefully, you are now more familiar with FAFSA. These are just a few of many tips to come but these tips will help you to get the funds for college that you need.