What Is FAFSA?

By Dirk Diggler , last updated January 10, 2012

If you are a current college student, or are applying to schools for the fall, you are going to want to become familiar with the ins and outs of Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. FAFSA is just one aspect of the United States government’s Federal Student Aid office, which is further within the U.S. Department of Education.

Office of Federal Student Aid

The office of Federal Student Aid is dedicated to providing students and their guardians with helpful information and services to get them the higher education they deserve. The most basic function that the Federal Student Aid office fulfills is informing people of how to go about receiving aid, so before you begin your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, contact them for advice on how to do so efficiently. They are the best people to turn to for advice because they are responsible for processing the millions of FAFSA applications that come in every year and also for giving out the billions of dollars in funds that the government has reserved for higher education. In addition, the office of Federal Student Aid is a great place to turn to for help with student loans. Not only does the office of Federal Student Aid give out loans, but in the event you have defaulted on a student loan, they are there to help you refinance.

How to File your FAFSA

The office of Federal Student Aid has made FAFSA applications a very viable option for almost everybody, making them available through a wide variety of channels. Even though it is recommended that you fill out the application online, you can easily download a PDF version of it and mail it in or even request them to send you a hard copy to mail in.

Eligibility

In order to receive financial aid from the office of Federal Student Aid you must meet some minimum, basic requirements. Not surprisingly, in order to receive federal student aid, you must be a citizen of the United States, or an eligible non-citizen with a real social security number. In addition, to receive help for higher education payments, you must have the basics down first. This means either a high school diploma, a General Education Development certificate (GED), a certificate saying you were home schooled or you have to pass what they call an "ability to benefit" test. Other requirements are that you are a good student who is applying to enroll with the intention of sticking with it until you receive your degree. The Government does not want to waste money on somebody who does not plan on making the most of what they are given. Finally, you must be in need of financial aid, if you already have the means to pay for your education the government will not pay for yours because others need it more.

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