FAFSA or pay up!

Written by
Sabina Haskell

January 10, 2017


File your FAFSA

Vermonters will need to continue their education after high school if they are to be qualified for the majority of careers in Vermont’s new economy. There are financial resources available to help you cover the costs of your education. It begins with the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

In Vermont, only about half the students file a FAFSA. This means Vermonters lose out on an estimated $5.5 million in federal Pell grants every year, or about $3,600 per eligible student, according to Nerdwallet.com. Students who don’t file a FAFSA also may be missing out on the Vermont state grant, which on average, offers an additional $1,800 to cover college costs for eligible students.

Most financial aid is first come, first served. Don’t miss out on available money because you wait too long! File the FAFSA even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for federal aid. It’s used by most schools in determining institutional aid and scholarships.

FAFSA tips:

File online. The online application is available at www.FAFSA.gov. Students and families who file online will receive their student aid report and expected family contribution within a week.

Apply for Vermont state grant at the same time. Once you finish the FAFSA, it’s just a few more questions to apply for this exceptional need-based grant. Every year, VSAC gives out $19 million in grants to over 13,000 students in full-time, part-time and nondegree study.

2015 tax return is used. In the past, families often had to “guestimate” their income for the year just ended. Now, the FAFSA uses the tax return that’s already filed. Better still, with a click of the button, it’s all downloaded from the IRS. Simple and fast – most people finish within 30 minutes!

Get your FSA ID first. You’ll save time and make it easier to file the FAFSA if you create your user ID and password first at www.FAFSA.gov.

List your school choices. Even though you haven’t decided on where you’ll go to school, you should list all the ones you’re considering. The schools don’t see your list, but VSAC will use the list in determining a Vermont State Grant.

Good luck and happy FAFSA-ing!