Wenonah High School seniors promote FAFSA completion among their peers.

Wenonah High School seniors promote FAFSA completion among their peers.

 

Each year, students in the United States miss out on more than $2 billion dollars of free money for college.  To receive this money, all that students need to do is complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

FAFSA is what colleges use to determine how much money a student will receive to help pay for school. The earlier students file the FAFSA, the more money they are likely to get. Students who file before the March 1 priority deadline typically receive twice as much aid as students who wait until later to file.

Parker High School senior Aspen Gorman aims to attend the University of Tennessee and said, “FAFSA is important to my college and future goals because it helps me get there. If I didn’t receive FAFSA, then I probably couldn’t pay for school.”

Many Alabama students are eligible for Pell Grants of up to $5,920. This is money that doesn’t have to be paid back and can only be received by completing the FAFSA.

Even if a student doesn’t think they qualify for aid, more often than not, they are eligible for some kind of financial assistance.

FAFSA also determines whether or not a student is eligible for work-study and federal student loans. Additionally, scholarships, including athletic scholarships, often require a completed FAFSA.

Huffman High School senior Devon Blevins plans to attend Miles College and will receive free money for college because he completed his FAFSA. “Thanks to the FAFSA, I’ll have money for expenses beyond tuition and fees,” said Blevins. “There are many other things you’ll need to pay for once you’re in school.”

This year, filling out FASFA is easier than ever. Parents and students use their 2015 tax information to complete the form, which can be automatically imported into the FAFSA with the IRS data retrieval tool.

Students and families can also receive assistance with filling out the form. Cash for College partners will coordinate and facilitate free FAFSA workshops around the state before and after the March 1 priority deadline. Visit the Cash for College website for workshop dates and additional resources.

College is expensive. Filling out the FAFSA is free, and it makes college more affordable. File your FAFSA today at FAFSA.GOV.

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Huffman High School senior Devon Blevins filed his FAFSA and will receive a Pell Grant when he attends college this fall.