Why Parents Should Fill Out the FAFSAWhatever the case, parents who are not able to pay for college should still do one thing: help their child fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or more simply, the FAFSA.
What is an EFC (Expected Family Contribution)?The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, more commonly referred to as the FASFA, is a form that is used to determine how much a family can pay for college. Filling out and submitting this form in no way obligates parents to pay for college.
FAFSA Opens Doors to All Types of Financial Aid for StudentsBecause the FAFSA does not require parents to pay for school, there is no harm in filling this form out for your child, even when you don’t plan to pay anything toward their higher education. It does, however, harm them to not complete the FAFSA. When you do not complete the FAFSA, colleges cannot determine whether or not your child is eligible for financial aid. If there is no form on file, there are no grants or work- study jobs on campus for them because a student cannot file a FAFSA without parents. If you or your child attempts to contact the financial aid office to get financial aid, they will first ask if you have filed a FAFSA. And if you haven’t, they will instruct you to do so. There are also scholarships that require students to show proof of financial need, and how do they do that? By completing the FAFSA.
FAFSA for Parents: Filing TipsThe FAFSA gets a lot of flack, but it’s never been easier for parents to file. To prepare your family for the FAFSA application, follow these steps:
- Have conversations about the cost of college and who is paying before you submit the form.
- Determine whether your child is dependent or independent on the FAFSA (if they qualify as an independent student, they may be eligible for more financial aid).
- Research which who should fill out the FAFSA if divorced parents, separated or unmarried.
- Gather everything you need to file the form. Pro tip: use our FAFSA checklist.
- File the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1 since many states and federal government award financial aid on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- Double check your FAFSA for errors before submitting.