It’s that time of the year again, the 2018-19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now open! Completion and submission of the form takes no more than thirty minutes, is completely free, and gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college. Hawai‘i’s priority deadline for the 2018-19 FAFSA is February 1st, 2018 and the federal deadline is June 30th, 2019; however, there are only a few federal student aid programs, with limited funds, so if you’re a high school senior or college student, or the parent of one, you should submit the form as soon as you can.
Inputting tax information is now easier than ever with the ability to use the site’s IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which will automatically fill out the form with the correct information. Previously, FAFSA required you to estimate the previous year’s taxes and go back later to submit corrected data; now, you don’t have to wait until your family files their income taxes as the 2018-19 FAFSA requires the 2016 tax information.
If you don’t think you or your student qualifies, think again! While income is taken into consideration, factors such as the size of your family, whether the student’s parents are close to retirement, if the student has siblings in college, and the price of tuition all play a part in calculating your financial need. Even if you think your family’s income is too high, you should still fill it out. You may qualify for a merit grant or scholarship, and you still need it to obtain federal student loans and work study opportunities.
By not filling out the FAFSA online, students are missing out on a seriously good deal. Compared to private student loans, federal student loans have low interest rates, the grants don’t have to be repaid, and work-study programs are a great way to fund your education AND build a resume. The FAFSA is the only way to get federal financial aid.
What are you waiting for? Complete the FAFSA at fafsa.ed.gov to take advantage of the best financial aid options! Check out the video below to learn more about FAFSA and the application process.