What even is the FAFSA?!

Students at a campus career fair.

In October, students are able to complete the 2023-2024 FAFSA application. Here are some frequently asked questions about what that means, and how to get started!

Q: What is FAFSA? 

A: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the official form students use to apply for financial assistance from the federal government. The information provided determines what type(s) of aid Adrianna may qualify for.

 

Q: Does it cost anything to file the FAFSA?

A: Nope—it’s totally free! 

 

Q: Is filing the FAFSA like taking out loans? 

A: There is no financial commitment when filing the FAFSA; it’s simply a way of providing colleges with more detailed information. Then, that information is used to help calculate all the different financial aid options Adrianna qualifies for such as scholarships, grants, loans, work-study programs and more. That means students should still complete the FAFSA even if they don’t plan on taking out any loans. 

 

Q: How long does it take to fill out?

A: Adrianna should plan about 30 minutes, but you can also save your progress and come back to it later.

 

Q: What do we need to get started? 

A: Students (and parents) typically need to create unique FSA ID usernames and passwords, and have the following documents and items readily available. 

 

Q: When should I file the FAFSA? 

A: Every school is different, but at Merrimack, we encourage students to submit their FAFSA around the same time as their admission application. That way, we can review both at the same time and provide a more accurate financial aid package at time of admission. 

 

PS: You can find more FAQS and helpful resources on the Federal Student Aid website. We also have a glossary of common financial aid terms on our website that might be helpful, too!

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