By Allison Johnson
Blog Content Contributor
It’s that time of the year again. FAFSA applications are now open! While I was filling out my last FAFSA application, I told my mom, “Screw this. I’m finishing my college education with a bachelor degree. I’m not doing this again for grad school.” A bit dramatic, but answering redundant questions gets annoying. Thankfully, FAFSA has been using the 2016 tax return for the past two years but gosh, it’s the little things that make it awful.
Difficulties aside, if you’ve used FAFSA once, chances are you need to apply for it again. The 2018-2019 application opened on October 1st. I recommend getting it done as soon as possible. I didn’t submit my application in October for two years in a row, and I really screwed myself over. I submitted my application on October 2nd and I could see a difference in my estimated wards and previous awards. Even if it’s just a few hundred, that’s better than nothing. Hell, that could cover another 3 hours.
Maybe applying as a senior played a role in my award amount, but submitting your application late is a mistake you do not want to make again. There are people who need it more than others, but if you don’t take advantage of submitting your application early, it goes on to the next person. Also, keep in mind to maintain a GPA of 2.0 or above. Maintaining your eligibility is important. A lot of people get on academic probation and lose grants. I was able to get a grant last year mid-fall semester because some lost their eligibility.
I know it must be awful to lose FAFSA eligibility, but hey, it always works out for someone else. I hope FASFA is in your favor this year! Make sure you answer everything correctly and call the financial aid office if you have any questions. I highly recommend calling first thing in the morning if it is something urgent, otherwise they’re good with answering emails quickly.
August 2018 is ways away, but here’s something to keep in mind if you’re awarded for the 2018-2019 school year; your financial aid money is not free money to do whatever you please with. It might be a good idea to create a separate bank account to pay your tuition. I know people who have their funds deposited into their checking out and run out of money two months into school.
Don’t touch it. Honestly, if you can afford to blow off your financial aid maybe you should pay out-of-pocket for classes. There’s plenty of people who aren’t eligible for it who could use it.
Featured image via Texas State Financial Aid and Scholarships.