What Happens If You Don't Use Your FAFSA?

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Figuring out how to pay for college can be complicated and frustrating. Nearly all students who will be attending a college institution the following year will fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. If you are considering not filling out a FAFSA there are several consequences.

Ineligibility for Financial Aid

  • The purpose of the FAFSA is to help the federal government determine your eligibility for financial aid. Not only does it help calculate how much aid a student will receive, but it also calculates the amount that will be given in grants as compared to loan opportunities. A student who does not fill out a FAFSA will not receive any assistance from the federal government, no matter what their needs may be. The student will be responsible for paying the entire tuition sum.

Ineligibility for Student Loans

  • The government subsidizes loans specifically designed for college students, such as the Perkins Loan and the Stafford Loan. These loans have low interest rates and favorable repayment options that benefit college kids trying to fund their education. Without filling out a FAFSA, a student will not be able to take advantage of these opportunities. Instead, they may be forced to take out a loan that has a higher interest rate than a student loan and requires repayment while the student is still in school.

Colleges May Require It

  • Some universities make it mandatory to fill out a FAFSA, even if the student is not eligible for financial aid due to his parents' income. The consequences for not completing the form will vary among institutions. Some may suspend enrollment until it is submitted; others may prevent you from registering for classes. The good news is that every college has advisors in a financial aid office to help you complete the form and answer any questions.

It is Worth the Effort

  • The FAFSA, as the name implies, is free to the student and can be filled out electronically. A student should fill out the form even if he thinks he isn't eligible for financial assistance. The student may be surprised about the financial-aid opportunities that exist for him. There are also many forms of assistance that can help in filling out the form, including financial aid advisors at the college, as well as numerous websites.

References

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