In the United States, the largest provider of free money for students is the federal government itself.  Every year, college students receive billions in grants and low cost loans, and it is that time to apply again.

To be considered for this free source of education funding, prospective students need to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (or FAFSA).

Once you’re at the government’s FAFSA website, the first step is to apply for a PIN.  This PIN will serve as your identification and access code, so be sure to keep a good record of it in a safe and secure place.  Depending on how busy the servers are, this can take a while, so don’t leave it to the last minute to get started!

Once you’ve received your PIN, the next step will be to gather up some records and research your family’s income for the prior year.  For most students under the age of 24, financial need is still based on the parents’ earning levels, so you’ll either need their completed tax forms or at least a record of how much they made.   Older and married students might not need to include information from their parents.

After all of the financial information has been added to the FAFSA, you’ll receive a Student Aid Report or SAR.  This SAR is used by colleges and scholarship programs across the country, as a quick reference to the student’s unment financial need.

The next important step is to get the FAFSA results and SAR to the college you intend to enroll in.  While the absolute deadlines vary state by state and college by college, the best bet is to make sure you turn in all of the reports as soon as possible.  Many schools disburse funds based on how early the application is completed, so if you don’t hurry there might just not be any money left over.

While the FAFSA may seem intimidating, it really is easier than ever to complete.  So be sure to avoid those expensive services that claim to make things simpler for you – you can’t guarantee the quality of their work and there is absolutely no reason to spend money to receive free funding from the federal government.

Once you’ve got your SAR turned in to your college of choice, just sit back and relax!  Or even better, start looking for other scholarships and grants that you can apply for!

5 Responses to “How to get free college money from the government”

  1. Completing a FAFSA has always seemed so complicated – I’m sure the majority of people are scared off before they even start! Thanks for explaining the process so succinctly. Do you know roughly how long it takes to receive a SAR (once all financial information has been added to the FAFSA)?

  2. Hi! dear friends are you fine? I found this application site when i searching. I want to give some suggestion for you. Now i am graduated from Addis Ababa University by Doctor of Veterinary Medicine(DVM). You know i didn’t used my potential due to financial support problems from my family because they are too poor. If you give this chance (financial support) be sure that i will give service for your organization kindly and honestly for being sponsor. So that please assist and help me because i need your support. I keep your hopeful response.

  3. jason eric mallett
    August 27th, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    I would really love to get a degree.ive been slacking for far to long. i need to get my life back.

  4. FAFSA can be very intimidating. I know I went to a lot of high school and college workshops to get more comfortable with the process (and for the free pizza lunch)! It has been well worth the effort.

  5. am a kenyan student studying BCOM first year in pwani university, can FAFSA provide financial aid to me for my studies?

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