Your college might have sent you a letter or email about no financial aid awards available. Although this may cause some stress before summer, its possible your school – or even FAFSA – made an error. I want to explore a few options why you might have received the letter, why you might not get any more financial aid, and what you can do.
I filled out the FAFSA for four years in college, and then went back to school for another degree only to find nothing changed about the application process: Fill out the forms, wait, and realize that I do not qualify for any free funding.
But you might have a different problem, which means your first step should be to visit the financial aid office and ask why no more federal student aid is available to you.
One possibility is the language the financial aid office uses. They may send out a standard letter to students who dont qualify, who are waiting for student aid, or are missing information that will help the school determine benefits. Find out what they mean by no financial aid available.
Missing information on FAFSA means no financial aid award
Forgetting to fill in all the information is one of the biggest problems when filling out the federal aid application, especially if you are student who is dependent. (Dependent students will need parents tax forms, social security numbers, and bank statements.)
Youre sure to not get any student aid if you dont fill out the form to its fullest. And remember: If you dont understand what the application is asking, talk to someone who does.
Another important point is to check over the application a few days after youve filled it out – then, submit it. This will make sure you didnt make any mistakes, too.
Financial aid awards available on first-come, first-served basis
As mentioned, youll need your tax information for federal aid, so dont wait to get your taxes done when you are a student.
To get financial aid from FAFSA, submit the federal aid application early. If you dont, you may only be eligible for work study and/or an education loan.
No loan financial aid: Work-study program
The work-study program is not free money. You have to work at the college or university – usually for minimum wage – and can earn up to a certain amount of money that can be applied to your schooling.
This is an OK program if you dont have a job or you have problems finding a job that works with your school schedule.
The big benefit of this program is you dont have to take out a loan.
FAFSA financial aid and loans
School is expensive, and your FAFSA package might not cover all expenses. Or, if you can not qualify for student aid, you might need take out an education loan. These loans can be from banks, schools or the government; they will need to be repaid, though.
Despite being a loan, they represent a good value: You are investing in your future. A sound education will not fail you, and you will make way more money in the long run.
Although the loans are usually low interest and can be paid off over 15 to 20 years, I found that after a couple years out of college I made enough to pay mine back pretty quick.
I hope this article provided some insight into FAFSA and helped you figure out what to do if you get a no financial aid awards available letter.