You just filed the FAFSA – congratulations! Completing the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is no easy task. It opens doors to receive federal financial aid, such as scholarships, grants, and federal student loans, among others. Give yourself a pat on the back! Now that you’ve filed, you may be wondering what comes next. Take a look at our breakdown below to learn what you should do after you send in your FAFSA.
Make Any Corrections or Updates to Your FAFSA
You can make changes or corrections after you’ve filed your FAFSA. Once it has been processed, which usually takes a few days, you can log back in to make any updates. Doing this allows you to correct any information or typos, or add or change a school to make your FAFSA information available to.
Keep Applying for Other Aid
The FAFSA is a major resource for financial aid for college, but that doesn’t mean you should stop looking for other sources as soon as you apply. While you’re waiting to hear back from the FAFSA, devote your energy to applying for other forms of aid, like scholarships! There are tons of scholarship websites out there dedicated to helping you find scholarships you’re eligible for. It’s also always a good idea to look at national, state, and even local businesses and organizations to see if there are any scholarships available. You can also check with your school, or the schools you’re interested in, to see if they know about any scholarship opportunities. It never hurts to ask around, and it’s worth it if you can get some money for college in the process!
Compare Financial Aid Offers
If you’re an incoming college student, once you’ve received your financial aid packages from all of the schools you sent your FAFSA to, it’s time to compare! This is typically one of the biggest factors to making your college decision.
The best way to compare your offers is to take the total cost of attendance (including any fees, books, housing, transportation, etc.) and subtract the amount of any free forms of financial aid (grants and scholarships). Do not include any loans that are being offered to you, because that’s still money you’ll have to repay. The total you’re left with is your out of pocket amount that is left to pay. Do this for each college’s financial aid offer to give you a clear picture of how much each school will cost you, and what makes the most sense for you.
Determine Your Next Step
Whether you’ve made your decision on what school to attend or are planning for next semester, it’s time to figure out how to fill any gaps left after financial aid. Keep looking for scholarships, in addition to other sources of funding, such as private student loans.