Nine Myths About the FAFSA and Applying for Financial Aid
Posted By: Melissa Elliott - 1/1/2021 12:00:00 AM

There is so much information available about financial aid for college that it can be hard to tell the facts from fiction. We’ve got you covered! Here are some common myths—and the real scoop—about financial aid and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form.


MYTH 1:
My Parents Make Too Much Money, So I Will Not Qualify For Any Aid.

FACT: The reality is there is no income cut-off to qualify for federal student aid. It does not matter if you have a low or high income; most people qualify for some type of financial aid, including low-interest federal student loans. Many factors besides income—such as your family size and your year in school—are taken into account.

TIP: When you fill out the FAFSA form, you are also automatically applying for state funds. Do not make assumptions about what you will get—fill out the application and find out!


MYTH 2:
I Support Myself, So I Do Not Have To Include My Parent’s Info On The FAFSA® Form.

FACT: This is not necessarily true. Even if you support yourself, live on your own, or file your own taxes, you may still be considered a dependent student for FAFSA purposes. The FAFSA form asks a series of questions to determine your dependency status. If you are independent, you will not need to include your parents’ information on your FAFSA form. But if you are dependent, you must provide your parents’ information.

If you are a dependent student, find out who is considered your parent for FAFSA purposes. (It’s not as obvious as you might think.)


MYTH 3:
I Should Wait Until I Am Accepted To A College Before I Fill Out The FAFSA® Form.

FACT: Do not wait. You can start now! As a matter of fact, you can start as early as your senior year of high school. You must list at least one college to receive your information. You SHOULD list all schools you are considering even if you have not applied or been accepted yet. If you do not end up applying or getting accepted to a school, the school can just disregard your FAFSA form.

  • You can add up to 10 schools at a time.
  • If you are applying to more than 10 schools, here’s what you should do.
  • If you want to add another school after you submit your FAFSA form, you can log in and submit a correction.

The schools you list will use your FAFSA information to determine the types and amounts of aid you may receive.


MYTH 4:
If I Did Not Receive Enough Money For School, I Am Just Out Of Luck.

FACT: You still have options! If you have received federal, state, and college aid but still find yourself having to fill the gap between what your financial aid covers and what you owe your school, check out these 7 options.


MYTH 5:
I Should Call “The FAFSA® People” (Federal Student Aid) To Find Out How Much Financial Aid Money I’m Getting And When.

FACT: No, you will have to contact your school. Federal Student Aid does not award or disburse your aid so we won’t be able to tell you what you will get or when you’ll get it. You will have to contact the financial aid office at your school to find out the status of your aid and when you should expect it. Just keep in mind that each school has a different timeline for awarding financial aid.


MYTH 6:
There Is Only One FAFSA® Deadline And That Is Not Until June.

FACT: Nope! There are at least two deadlines you need to check: your school, and federal deadlines. You can find the federal deadline at StudentAid.gov. You will need to check your school’s website for their FAFSA deadline. If you are applying to multiple schools, make sure to check all of their deadlines and apply by the earliest one. Also, if you are applying to any scholarships that require the FAFSA form, they might have a different deadline as well! Even if your deadlines are not for a while, we recommend you fill out the FAFSA form as soon as possible to make sure you do not miss out on any aid.


MYTH 7:
I Only Have To Fill Out The FAFSA® Form Once.

FACT: You have to fill out the FAFSA form every year you are in school in order to stay eligible for federal student aid.


MYTH 8:
I Can Share An FSA ID With My Parent(S).

FACT: Nope, if you are a dependent student, then two people will need their own FSA ID to sign your FAFSA form online:

  1. You (the student)
  2. One of your parents

An FSA ID is a username and password that you use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. Your FSA ID identifies you as someone who has the right to access your own personal information on ED websites such as StudentAid.gov.

If you are a dependent student, your parent will need his or her own FSA ID to sign your FAFSA form electronically. If your parent has more than one child attending college, he or she can use the same FSA ID to sign all applications. You will need a unique email address for each FSA ID.

Your FSA ID is used to sign legally binding documents electronically. It has the same legal status as a written signature. Do not give your FSA ID to anyone—not even to someone helping you fill out the FAFSA form. Sharing your FSA ID could put you at risk of identity theft and could cause delays in the FAFSA process!


MYTH 9:
Only Students With Good Grades Get Financial Aid.

FACT: While a high grade point average will help you get into a good school and may help with academic scholarships, most federal student aid programs do not take grades into consideration when you first apply. Keep in mind that if you want to continue receiving aid throughout your college career, you will have to maintain satisfactory academic progress as determined by your school.


So What’s Next?

Go to StudentAid.gov and fill out the application. If you applied for admission to a college or career school and have been accepted, and you listed that school on your FAFSA form, the school will calculate your aid and will send you an electronic or paper financial aid offer telling you how much aid you’re eligible for at the school. Vernon College wants to provide you the financial support you need to afford your education. 

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