Financial Aid Fridays: Navigating the FAFSA

Scrabble MoneyF-A-F-S-A. Commit these five letters to memory. If you plan on attending college, they will follow you throughout the course of your entire academic career. It’s a little daunting, I know. DBRLTeen is here to help make these five letters a little friendlier.

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. All prospective college students looking to qualify for federal grants or loans must complete this online application. Most colleges also require this application so that they can award institutional scholarships based on financial need.

Another important note: Once you are admitted and attending college, you will have to complete this form every year until you graduate. Typically the latest version of the FAFSA form is available in early January, or shortly before.

Of all the applications you submit, your FAFSA ranks right up there with your application to the college or university you have chosen to attend. Translation: Very Important. You have through early spring to complete this online form, be sure to review the 2014 FAFSA deadlines.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) also offers a free program called FAFSA Frenzy to help students and families complete the FAFSA form. Fulton High School, Hickman High School, and the Columbia Career Center are each hosting this free event. Learn more about upcoming sessions.

Last, check out this video, “Seven Steps to Applying for Financial Aid.” It is produced by MDHE and provides a six-minute overview of completing the FAFSA form. The FAFSA website also now offers a tool called the FAFSA4caster. This resource will estimate your eligibility for federal student aid. Very cool.

Photo credits:
Money on Money by 401(K) 2013 via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.

About Brandy

Gadget addict, amateur photographer, schnauzer lover, connoisseur of fine children's and young adult literature, and DBRLTeen blog coordinator.
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