Steer Away From College Debt, Fill Out FAFSA Now!

Steer Away From College Debt, Fill Out FAFSA Now!

Sofia Aristizibal, Monique Brito and Beatriz Portillo Maldonado, Staff Writers

On October first, FAFSA (free application for student aid) reopened for this upcoming spring/fall semester. FAFSA provides money from the federal government for both private and public colleges. You can apply online at or you can now download the mobile app called “myStudentAid” which is offered on both apple and android devices.

A continuous problem for people applying for FAFSA is the technical issue. An alternative to the website would be the easy to use app. If either of those are giving you trouble, then you could also can apply over the phone which takes an average of 3-5 business days to process. The last option would be to mail your application which takes 2-3 weeks to process, which FAFSA does not recommend but it is always an option.

Submitting your FAFSA application as soon as possible is important because federal financial aid is awarded on first-come, first-served basis so applying early can maximize your chance at receiving higher financial aid.To apply you must provide your taxes and yearly income along with your parents taxes and income as well. Once you complete your FAFSA, they will give you an estimate of what your family will have to contribute to your college, also known as your EFC. If you need help with paying your EFC you can take out student loans that you have to pay back in the end.

Ms. Currie, from the college/career center, cleared up questions we had about the FAFSA process. Some people wanted to know if you could add and change schools. “Yes, you log into your FAFSA account and click on school selection, and add your schools of choice.” Currie said.Another frequently asked question that Ms. Currie addressed, was if  FAFSA can apply to those who weren’t born in the US. Currie said “Unfortunately those who are not US citizens are ineligible for federal aid but can still qualify for scholarships, institutional aid and loans.” In conclusion, if you were not born in the US but received your citizenship, feel free to fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible.

Also if your parents are undocumented but you are a US citizen, you are eligible for federal student aid. When filling out the FAFSA form make sure to put “000-00-0000” in place for your parents’ social, do not put their temporary (working) social numbers on the form because it will say “error” and prevent you from successfully submitting your FAFSA form. If your parents are in fact undocumented, all of their IRS information will have to be inputted manually.

The very last step of your FAFSA would be the parent signature page, where you make your parent(s) a FSA ID and electronically sign off your form. For those whose parents cannot create a FSA ID without a social security number, your only option would be to print out the signature page, have your parent/guardian sign it, and mail it out to the address shown.

Our final question we asked was whether or not an individual under DACA can apply for financial aid. The answer to that question would be no. Although it sounds like a dream come true, unfortunately for those who are going through the process of DACA cannot ask for financial aid but they can get a loan from a bank, such as Sallie Mae.

Once you’ve dealt with the commotion of filling out your FAFSA, after it is done being processed you will receive an email including your expected EFC, your estimate Stafford loan, and whether or not you are eligible for a pell grant. If you are eligible for a pell grant, it will also give you your estimate amount. It’s important to remember that the exact amount of money you will be receiving all depends on what school you choose to commit to in the end. Therefore, it’s important to keep an open mindset and plan ahead for anything in the long run, the goal is to be as stress free as possible in the end.