Some students and or parents realize they aren’t going to qualify for federal need-based aid. Maybe the family income is too high, or the house is paid off and worth too much. Whatever the economic reason, not every student is going to qualify for federal grants or subsidized loans.
But even if you’re absolutely sure that you can’t get federal help, its still worthwhile to take an hour to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
When you complete the FAFSA, you get a Student Aid Report (SAR). Some schools want a SAR as part of the application process, and some will use it to consider students for institutional financial aid that could be more generous than the federal programs. At more expensive schools, even middle class students aren’t expected to pay for tuition.
Finally, a lot of scholarships will ask for a copy of your tax returns, FAFSA, or SAR. Even if the scholarship isn’t need-based, they may be looking for proof of employment or legal status.
This year, the FAFSA is faster than ever with instant PIN generation and sped-up SAR processing times. The entire application takes less than an hour and you can have the results in a day or two. It costs nothing, and its only secured government servers. Why wait? There’s no good excuse!