College-bound students can visit fafsa.gov to complete their free application for scholarships, grants, work study jobs, and loans for the 2021-22 school year. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as the FAFSA, gives students access to the largest source of financial aid for certificates or degrees, whether at two-year or four-year programs. Completing this application is a key step in the college application process.
Accessing financial aid helps students get to college and obtain valuable credentials. Around 90 percent of high school seniors who complete the FAFSA attend college directly from high school, compared to just 55 percent of students who do not complete the FAFSA. Students must apply every year in order to determine their eligibility for different kinds of aid, including the Pell grant. An estimated 57.4% of students in Alabama qualify for a Pell grant, whether full or partial. Pell grants are “gift aid” meaning they do not need to be paid back; the current maximum award is $6,345 per year.
The FAFSA opens October 1st of every year and students planning to begin or continue their college education should complete the application as soon as possible for the 2021-22 school year. Be sure to check the priority deadlines of the school where you will enroll or are currently enrolled! Students and families can complete the FAFSA on the myStudentAid mobile app or the mobile-friendly FAFSA website.
Cash for College, one component of the Alabama Goes to College campaign, strives for every graduating senior to complete their FAFSA before they graduate from high school so that they can access federal, state, and institutional aid to pay for future educational endeavors. Students looking for assistance with college planning, including financial aid, can contact the Alabama Goes to College Help Desk at 334-316-6155 or @algoes2college on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. High school counselors, career coaches, and teachers can find more resources to support their students on our Educators webpage.