Taking the Fear Out of the FAFSA

It’s time to apply, or reapply, as the case may be. Here is where to find answers.

By Anne Vaccaro Brady

Ironically, while I was doing research for this post, an email notice popped up from “Federal Student Aid” copying me on a letter to each of my children reminding them to reapply for aid. Obviously, the timing of this post couldn’t be better.

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid Even if you think your family may not be eligible, fill it out anyway. Colleges often require this completed application in order to consider your teen for aid through their own programs and for federal student loans. Visit the FAFSA website here.


Filling out and filing your FAFSA form Check out my post “It’s FAFSA Time!” for the basics. Most important to note is how early colleges want this application completed. And yes, you can fill it out before your taxes are done, but it’s easier if they are.

Rachel Louise Ensign writes in the Wall Street Journal about why families shouldn’t delay filing their FAFSA, despite recent tax changes that could postpone income tax filings.

In my “FAFSA, Part 2” post, you’ll find  additional websites where you can learn more about FAFSA.

Finding answers to your questions The New York Times’ “The Choice” blog is once again answering reader questions about the FAFSA with financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz,  who founded the websites FinAid. I strongly suggest you check out this five-part series if this is your first time around, or if you think you have some unique circumstances that you don’t know how to address on the FAFSA.

My oldest will be graduating in May, meaning that this year I only have to complete the FAFSA for one student. Truth to be told, reapplying is easier than applying initially. Guess I better get to it.

Good luck with yours.

Please share any websites or information you think other families can use on financial aid and the FAFSA in the comments section below.

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