How To Apply For Federal Student Loans
Whether you’re in your senior year of high school, or have decided years later that a higher education is the direction you want to take your life, you’re going to need to find a way to pay for it all. While it’s ideal to save up money so you can afford to pay for college, tuition rates can rise into the hundreds of thousands depending on where you go and the kind of degree you desire.
Thankfully, there are a number of federal student loans that you can apply for to help lighten the financial load, no matter which college you choose to attend. The application process is pretty basic, but you’re going to need to know your own financial history and the financial history of your parents or guardians. This means you will need to reference your own tax information as well as that of your parents.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (or FAFSA) is the primary way to apply for federal student loans. While the form itself is basic and self-explanatory, you should seek help from the financial aid office at the school you plan on attending. Upon setting up a meeting with one of their advisers, they will walk you through the process of filling out your FAFSA, and will even go as far as to submit it for you once it is completed.
If you’re unable to meet with a financial aid representative at your school, you can also find the form for yourself online at the FAFSA official website or use this step-by-step process. The site provides all the information you’ll need to apply for federal student aid, along with a FAQ answering just about any question you might have regarding the form.
Filing for federal student loans must be done annually, meaning you must complete a new FAFSA for each school year. Filing a FAFSA must be done before a strict deadline, so it’s better to file your form as soon as you possibly can. Keep in mind that different schools have different deadlines for when they’ll accept FAFSA forms, so it’s essential that you keep up a bridge of communication with your school’s financial aid office.
Remember that when applying for federal financial aid, the amount and type of aid varies depending on your situation. Depending on your family’s earnings and your living situation, you will be offered more or less financial aid. If you have circumstances that are outside the norm, contact your school’s financial aid office and discuss your options with them.
Filing your FAFSA can be a bit overwhelming the first time around, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s important that the form is filled out honestly and accurately, this way you ensure that you are given the appropriate loans and grants based on your situation. Lying on your FAFSA can get you in serious trouble, so you need to be as truthful as possible. Peterson’s has more great FAFSA tips to help you fill out the application.