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5 Common FAFSA Myths

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

If you need to pay for college, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form is your ticket to affordability. However, many myths continue to circulate that deter students from ever filling out FAFSA, which means they’re missing out on an opportunity to lessen the financial commitment of a college education. Below, we dispel some of the most common myths about FAFSA.

Myth # 1

My Family Makes Too Much Money to Qualify

Currently, there is no income cut-off to receive FAFSA aid. The FAFSA uses numerous factors—size of your family, educational attainment, size of family, etc.—to determine how much funding students receive. Further, the FAFSA includes special eligibility criteria for students with a parent killed in Afghanistan and neurodiverse students (including ADD, ADHD). We cannot stress it enough, if you’re not sure what you will qualify for, the best way to know for sure is to complete the application!

Myth #2

I Need To File Taxes Before Completing

You can use estimated information on your FAFSA so you’ll be able to submit it before you file taxes. Many schools ask students to apply before tax deadlines. Thus, you want

to make sure that you complete the FAFSA earlier rather than later so you can base your estimates on the previous year’s tax return. If your information changes with the new tax filing, you can log back into your application and updated the information, if needed.

Myth #3

Aid Is Tied To Grades

Since many scholarship awards are determined through a track record of academic success, some students assume that the FAFSA also requires a certain grade point average or academic marks. However, for most federal student aid programs academic performance is not linked in any way to grades. Once you receive your aid, many schools require that you maintain certain marks that your institution considers satisfactory. University standards apply to all students on campus, whether they receive financial aid. Each University has different standards for how students can remain in good standing. The only way that students can have their aid revoked is failure to meet their university standards of good standing.

Myth #4

One And Done

When you complete the FAFSA, you must continue to fill it out every academic year that you are enrolled in school. Your information from the first time filling out the forms will auto populate every year. Unless that information changes, refilling your FAFSA is an extremely quick process.

Myth #5

I Support Myself, So I Don’t Need To Enter My Parents Information

Even if you file your taxes, you may still register as a dependent for financial aid reasons. To determine your dependency status, you can use the Federal Government’s FAFSA website to answer these questions. If you’re an independent, you don’t have to list your parents on your FAFSA. If you’re a dependent, however, your legal guardian’s information must be included on your forms to receive aid.

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