Why the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is first-come, first-served. Apply as soon as you can to take advantage of federal aid for college.

Filing a FAFSA is the single most important thing you can do to get money for college. It’s the gateway to more than $120 billion in college grants, work-study funds, and federal student loans, as well as certain state-based aid. Some private scholarships require a FAFSA as part of their application process.

The U.S. Department of Education uses the  FAFSA® (Free Applications for Federal Student Aid) to determine your eligibility for federal student aid, including low-cost loans, grants, and work-study. The FAFSA may also determine your eligibility for state and school aid as well.

The purpose of the FAFSA is to gather information on a family’s income, assets, and other resources to determine a student’s eligibility for student aid. Since many types of student aid are “need based,” eligibility is often based on the family’s financial picture. Colleges need the FAFSA to assess a family’s finances and award need-based dollars.

Most students receive some type of financial aid, so apply even if you don’t think you qualify. Some families assume they won’t qualify for financial aid and don’t even bother completing the FAFSA. Don’t leave free money on the table! Last year, North Carolina students missed out on an estimated $89 million dollars in federal money.