If you’re starting the process of getting into college, or are already in college, it’s probably safe to say you’ll hear the term “FAFSA” more times than you can count. But what exactly does FAFSA stand for?
FAFSA is the abbreviation for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. (Talk about a mouthful!) It is administered by Federal Student Aid, an office of the Department of Education. Filing the FAFSA is the only way to apply for federal student aid, which includes:
- Federal student loans
How the FAFSA Works
The purpose of the FAFSA is to examine a student’s and their family’s ability to pay for college. It takes you and your family’s income and other financial information into account to determine how much financial aid you can qualify for. (Note: there is a mix of need-based and non-need-based aid available.)
Shortly after you submit your FAFSA, you’ll get a Student Aid Report (or SAR). This is essentially a summary of the information provided, as well as information on your eligibility for the different types of federal student aid.
When you fill out your application, you’ll select up to ten schools that will be able to view the information you provide. These schools will also use your FAFSA information to put together your financial aid package. This will outline any types of financial aid they can provide to you, and how much.
Every incoming and current college student should file the FAFSA every year. Even if you think you won’t qualify for any aid, it’s important to do so. If not, you’re missing out on potential financial aid for college.
Now that you’ve got a better understanding of what the FAFSA stands for and how it works, check out our article on how to apply for financial aid here!