Government aid is available for secondary education, however only 68% of families filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in 2020, according to data from Sallie Mae.
Some families say it takes too much time to file, and about 44% of college students for the 2020-21 school year said they didn’t think they qualified for aid. These students are potentially missing out on a fund that provides $150 billion in scholarships, grants, work-study programs and federal student loans by not applying.
"Completing the FAFSA is one of the most important steps a student should take in their higher education journey," said Jennifer O’Donald, Sallie Mae senior vice president. "The reality is, nearly all who apply will qualify for something. It’s so important that students approach their college decision-making process with eyes wide open and maximize the resources available to them."
If you've completed your financial aid applications and don’t qualify for aid or need additional funds to pay for your higher education, consider taking out a private student loan while interest rates are at historic lows. Visit Credible to find your personalized rate and see what loans you qualify for.
Sallie Mae releases FAFSA application tool
To help families complete their FAFSA application, Sallie Mae released its FAFSA application tool that simplifies the process and decreases the time needed to apply for aid. The company said students could complete the application process in seven minutes.
With the date to complete a 2022-23 academic year FAFSA application quickly approaching, it is important to Here are some tips Sallie Mae gives for getting the most out of your online FAFSA application:
FAFSA deadlines are not the only date applicants should keep an eye on. Applicants should apply as close to the October 1 opening date for the next school year to determine their aid eligibility. Some aid comes from limited funds and is given on a first-come, first-served basis. The earlier a student completes their FAFSA, the more funds they could qualify for to pay their tuition.
Record how COVID-19 affected your finances
A special circumstance form can be submitted if your family's finances were affected by COVID-19 or other events. Borrowers should request the form from their school’s financial aid office.
Families navigating the financial aid process should also consider a private student loan after exhausting their scholarships, grants and federal student loan options. Visit Credible to compare multiple students lenders at once and choose the option that is the best fit for you.
Gather your documents
To make the application process easier, it's recommended that students and their families should compile these key pieces of information before filling out their FAFSA form:
- Social Security numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
- Bank statements
- Previous year's tax returns
- W-2 forms
Check for errors
Errors in answers to FAFSA questions can cause applicants to lose out on aid they could have earned and could delay the application. Common mistakes include:
- An incorrect Social Security number
- An incorrect driver’s license number
- Forgetting to sign the application
Once you have gone through these steps and applied for federal aid, if you still need funding for school a private student loan could be right for you. Visit Credible to get preapproved in minutes without affecting your credit score.
What is the best student loan option for you?
Filing a FAFSA application will determine the federal aid available to borrowers, including federal student loans. These loans are usually the most favorable option since they typically have lower interest rates, forbearance options and future student debt cancellation eligibility.
Student loans beyond the standard subsidized and unsubsidized options include personal loans and federal PLUS loans, with higher interest rates at 6.28%. However, students can get reasonable rates on their private student loans based on their loan amount, credit history or creditworthiness. Contact Credible to speak to a student loan expert and get all your questions answered.