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I Didn’t Know That: Why the FAFSA is Such a Big Deal

FAFSA application

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, affectionately known as the FAFSA, is your key to unlock money to help you pay for college.  February 15, 2024 is the priority deadline for the FAFSA application and Boise State scholarships (there’s over 700 available!). The application got some updates and looks a little different, but the goal is the same. When you file the FAFSA, you have an 85% chance of receiving some type of aid. Let’s put it in perspective:

  • Buy a lottery ticket – 0.0015% chance of winning
  • File the FAFSA – 85% chance of getting aid

Colleges use the FAFSA to determine how much federal financial aid you’re eligible to receive from these different types of aid:

  • Grants and scholarships: money you don’t have to pay back
  • Work-study jobs: paid, part-time work that’s generally on campus
  • Loans: money you need to pay back, usually after you graduate

And it’s not just for federal aid – many state governments and colleges also use the FAFSA to award their own aid and scholarships.

As with anything involving money, there are people out to scam you. Here are some safety tips:

  • Don’t pay for help with the FAFSA. It’s free to file. Period.
  • Protect your identity. Don’t give out your info via phone or internet unless you initiated the contact.
  • Beware of student loan debt relief companies. These companies will charge you for services you can easily manage yourself.

One thing is for sure: If you don’t fill out the FAFSA, you won’t get any aid. Even if you think you may not qualify, you should still submit the forms.

A few final tips:

We’re expecting more Pell eligibility for students, so even if you didn’t qualify in the past, you may now.

Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free and easy. Apply for the FAFSA online. The website may be down for maintenance at times, so be sure to check back frequently for updates if you experience any delays accessing the application.

You’ve got an awesome Financial Aid and Scholarships office at Boise State – contact them with your questions.

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