Originally Posted: Nov 7, 2011
Last Updated: Nov 7, 2011
Evan E. Lipp
Vice President for Enrollment Management
You don't have to fill out a FAFSA, but there's no reason not to. In fact, if there's any doubt in your mind about whether or not you need to, you probably should.
The FAFSA (or Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is used to determine the amount of money your family will be expected to contribute toward your college education. It's also used in determining student grants, work-study, and loan amounts and is the only way to apply for an unsubsidized Stafford loan.
College can be expensive and every little bit helps, so it’s important to take every advantage open to you. It’s a cliché, but you won’t receive any of the financial aid you don’t apply for. Why would you eliminate yourself from consideration at such an early stage?
If you need help with the form there are all sorts of resources you can turn to, from parents to guidance counselors to college financial aid advisers who can help point you in the right direction.
The way I look at it, filling out the FAFSA only takes about an hour, and if it results in financial aid that helps pay for your college education, then that's a pretty good return on your investment.