Apply before it’s to late.
by Rachelle-Ann Esmele and Tieanna Avery
Attention all seniors applying for financial aid: your FAFSA application is due on March 2, 2012!
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. FAFSA is an online application at fafsa.ed.gov. Before you sign up for financial aid, you need to sign up for a personal identification number (PIN) at pin.ed.gov. The PIN will be your electronic signature after you finish your application for financial aid. To sign up for financial aid you need to fill out the information you need to sign up, and you need your parents or guardians help. It can be a challenge signing up on your own; you need to know your parents/guardians tax information and social security numbers.
“Every student should sign up for FAFSA,” said counselor James Wallace.
FAFSA is a student loan that you don’t have to give back. Other student loans would work too, but you have to pay back every cent eventually, plus interest. You can also apply for scholarships, but not everyone will get scholarships.
“It depends on the scholarship,” said English teacher Jennifer Howard. “Most scholarships require an essay which students usually aren’t excited about writing. Through filling out the FAFSA most times they will receive more free money each year in college than they would receive with scholarships.”
“Scholarships are usually given to students for just one year although some last for the four years in college,” she added. “Students can still apply for scholarships after filling out the FAFSA so they can get as much money as they can to attend college!”
Applying for financial aid will take time, due to filling out forms. “FAFSA is more difficult, because not only I have to fill out papers, my parents have to do as well,” said senior Richard Chan. “Every time I try to go online to do it, I become upset because it’s so much to know. I have to know my (guardians) income, and I just don’t like it.”
“We’re encouraging every senior to sign up for FASFA, which is a huge headache when approximately half the seniors have turned in their Cal Grant papers which are due March 2,” said Wallace. “So half turned in (Cal Grant applications); I’m guessing 25% of the students will do FAFSA.”
When signing up for financial aid make sure you have the correct website, because there is a scam website that acts like FAFSA.
“FAFSA.com will lead you to a website that requires you to pay for filing your student aid report,” said Howard. “FAFSA.ed.gov is free and is the one that is sponsored by the government to give students the aid they need to attend college.”
“There is a ton of money out there for students to take advantage of to help pay for their education after high school,” said Howard. “Students need to use the money that is out there and not let it go to waste!”
Students with questions about FAFSA or scholarships should talk to their counselor, to Howard, or to another teacher.