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Should I submit FAFSA even if I'm not applying for financial aid?

April 12, 2019

No one likes filling out the FAFSA - and you may be tempted to bypass this part of the college process if you think your child won’t qualify for financial aid. However, experts agree that when it comes to this decision, you shouldn’t trust your gut - take a deep breath, gather those documents and fill out the form. If you don’t, you may be leaving money on the table.


Everyone should fill out the FAFSA. Here are 3 reasons why:


You never know what you’ll be eligible for

We occasionally hear from families who think there is no way they’ll be eligible for aid - but then they are surprised to find they are! Given how high tuition is these days, even a family with solid financial standing can qualify. This is especially true for schools that are generous with aid. Plus, there are non-income factors - such as other children in college - which can significantly lower your EFC. 


It might be required for merit aid

Many universities require all applicants to submit FAFSA information in order to be considered for merit aid (which is not dependent on a student’s financial situation). In those cases a higher EFC will not be a disadvantage - and it may lead to more money for college!


You need to submit the FAFSA for federal loans

Even if you don’t expect to get any federal need-based aid, you may decide to take out federal loans. Often federal loans have lower interest rates and will qualify for special loan forgiveness or repayment programs that are not available for private loans. In order to apply for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the Parent PLUS Loan, you’ll need to provide your FAFSA.


When it comes to college affordability, don’t limit your options prematurely. Remember that most students receive financial help of some kind when it comes to college. Every college allocates money differently, so maximize your chances of finding that perfect financial fit.