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As FAFSA deadlines are approaching, it is important to make sure that you file your FAFSA on time if you are planning to attend college in the fall. You can find out when the FAFSA deadline is according to the State in which you are currently a residence. Click here to find your state deadline. Still, many students and parents have questions about the FAFSA form. Is it worth the time and effort to fill it out? Today, the question that we are answer is as follows:

How can a FAFSA benefit me if I am not wanting to take out loans?

1. Scholarships. Many scholarship applications are based on financial need. The FAFSA can be used by schools to allocate these specific types of scholarships. Without filing your FAFSA, it is difficult to prove your financial need to a college. Even private scholarships that are not connected with a school will have need-based scholarship opportunities. By submitting your FAFSA on time, you are prepared to apply for different scholarships that are based on financial need.

2. Grants. A common type of U.S. Federal grant is the Federal Pell Grant. You do not have to repay this grant. (Although you always want to double-check on grants to make sure that you do not have to repay them. If you do, the grant is more like a loan.) Allocation of the Federal Pell Grant is based on financial need, hence one more reason to file your FAFSA. Other grants will have similar stipulations and require your FAFSA to be filed in order to be eligible.

When you are filling out your FAFSA form, make sure that you work with your parents, as their income information has to be filed, as well. Although it can take a little time and effort to submit the FAFSA form, it can be very beneficial when you are applying for need-based scholarships and grants! Just remember, just because you submit your FAFSA form does not mean that you should take student loans that are offered to you. The Direct Stafford Loan is the most common type of federal student loan for which you could be eligible. However, you have to pay it back.  If you are “eligible” for a $20,000 a year loan, you could potentially have $80,000 of student loan debt by the time you graduate! Yikes! Here’s another solution: Use the tips found in the book, Smart Work U, to help you graduate from college debt-free with no loans.

Question: What is the most challenging part about filing your FAFSA? Make sure to leave your answer in the comments below. 

To your college success!

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