The Basics of Applying for Federal Student Financial Aid | Columns

The cost of post-secondary education can be overwhelming. However, most students enrolled in higher education institutions do not pay full tuition fees. In fact, the latest available statistics show that approximately 85% of students enrolled in four-year colleges and 80% of students enrolled in two-year schools receive financial aid. Although every situation is different, we believe there is an affordable option for everyone. The first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

What exactly is the FAFSA? The FAFSA is the U.S. Department of Education’s free federal aid application that determines your financial aid from the government and most colleges. Once you complete your FAFSA, your information is processed by the federal government and sent to the institutions you apply to. Your schools will analyze your situation and send you a letter outlining your financial aid program. This is a breakdown of what it costs to attend their school, what they feel you and your family can contribute to your education, the amount of institutional grants and scholarships you may be eligible for and loans available to you.

What you’ll need to complete your free application for federal student aid 2023-24