FAFSA is open. Don’t forget to apply

FAFSA form courtesy of Federal Student Aid

The 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now available. The priority filing date for Florida A&M University is Jan. 1.

Completing the FAFSA unlocks federal grants, loans and awards for students seeking financial help with college expenses. Students are encouraged to file immediately.

Darmisha Seymore, a senior social work major, believes the sooner students submit their application, the less chance they will run into complications.

“Early submission results in early prevention for any errors,” Seymore said.

Seymore’s advice is to create a memorable username and password to avoid going through the tedious verification process. She also advises students to seek guidance from someone knowledgeable should any confusion arise during the application process.

The FAFSA form requires parent financial information. Seymore recommends when entering this data, check to make sure the year is accurate.

“Make sure to have the appropriate year for your parent’s income information,” Seymore said.

According to the FAFSA website, the 2020–2021 form requires 2018 tax information.

A senior pharmacy major, Duy Tran, understands the importance of having access to the proper financial records and suggests collecting parental tax returns as soon as possible.

“Definitely ask your parents early to send their tax returns. Also, use the IRS retrieval tool to expedite the process,” Tran said.

Studies have shown that students pass up on this free opportunity every year.

In a 2018 analysis report of federal financial aid data by NerdWallet, the high school class of 2018 missed out on $2.6 billion in free money for college.

The same research showed about 661,000 of the nation’s high school graduates who were eligible for a Pell grant, did not apply for federal financial aid.

Brianna Mcgurran, identified as NerdWallet’s student loans expert, reportedly said that losing out on financial aid is one of the biggest mistakes students can make.

In regards to FAMU, resources are limited.

Seymore and Tran strongly urge students to not only submit their FAFSA form, but to do it sooner rather than later since funds are distributed by the university on a first-come, first-served basis.

FAMU’s financial aid website offers a resource guide for students who may have inquiries or concerns regarding the  FAFSA. It includes a detailed PDF with eligibility information, the types of awards offered, the changes that were made to the FAFSA and more.

For more information or assistance with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, visit FAMU’s financial aid website.

To complete the FAFSA, click here.