Why the FAFSA is important — and due March 2nd

Screen shot 2014-02-24 at 7.19.43 AMMark your calendars for March 2, the day the Federal Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) is due! Aim to turn it in by this deadline so that you may be considered for maximum financial aid from the state and federal government.

Unless you fill out FAFSA, you don’t know if you’re going to get financial aid at all from the college you’re attending. FAFSA gives students the opportunity to either receive grants, which is money that doesn’t need to be repaid, or loans, which is money that does need to be repaid.

“I’m not getting free money, so I hope to get a nice low interest loan from Uncle Sam,” said senior Matthew Cheung.

The FAFSA form is relatively easy to fill out, and has been simplified compared to that in the past few years. Have your parents’ tax information and banking statements handy to ensure a faster process.

“Even if you don’t have all the info that you need, you can file your FAFSA,” said Melanie Small, head of the Career Center. If a student doesn’t have all of his or her family’s financial information, he or she can still fill out FAFSA. As long as the form is submitted by March 2, one may make corrections or add information afterwards. Students should always be very careful with the input of their information, whether it’s related to money or not.

“When you are inputting your colleges in the system, put your colleges in alphabetical order with the exception of one California school being at the top of the list. By putting a California school at the top, you are alerting FAFSA that you would like to be considered for the Cal/Pell grant,” said senior Tia King, who has already received a Cal Grant. This is so FAFSA considers the applicant for the Cal/Pell grants. King also advises that students list their colleges in order of intent of attendance, for schools that see they are on the bottom of a student’s list are less likely to give him or her money.

“Get it done ASAP. It’s extremely important and can be a big help,” said senior Morgan Javonillo.

CVHS students can always visit Small in the Career Center for help Wednesdays after school, or by appointment any other time. Fill out FAFSA soon because it’s the only way for students attending a Cal State or UC to get financial aid! Private universities may also require FAFSA, or another form called the CSS Profile, or both. Students need to check individual private schools’ websites for financial aid information.

This year, there is a new scholarship for middle class students whose families make under $150,000 a year, and aren’t eligible for the other grants or scholarships.

“No one should be worried about whether or not they’ll receive anything due to their parents’ incomes being too high because every little bit really does count in the end,” said senior Andy Cao.

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