The importance of FAFSA

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The importance of FAFSA

Photo by Jasmine Baker

Photo by Jasmine Baker

Photo by Jasmine Baker

Jasmine Baker

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Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form completed by current and prospective college students in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid.  

FAFSA is a requirement for all college students seeking any type of loan or grant for school. 

To be eligible for a portion of the money the federal government provides annually to undergraduate, graduate and professional students, FAFSA must be completed. The application asks for financial information about the student and their parents if they are a dependent. From the information provided, financial aid is distributed based on a calculation of financial need, cost of the school the student plans on attending, and expected family contribution, which is the family’s ability to pay the cost of post-secondary education. 

Even if the student believes their parents’ salaries are too high to allow them to qualify for financial aid, many schools that award private scholarships or merit-based aid require the FAFSA to be on file. 

Since filling out FAFSA can be a timely and intricate process, Starkville High partnered with Mississippi State University to set up multiple “FAFSA Days” to ease the process. Representatives from Mississippi State’s office of Student Financial Aid, along with SHS counselors, were available on Starkville High School’s campus to help all students submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  

Even students planning to attend a community college or institutions other than Mississippi State were able to receive help submitting the FAFSA, as it is an important step in the college search process since the amount of money given will vary at different schools. Mississippi State does not require students to submit a FAFSA, but some colleges and universities do. 

Senior Clay Roberts was grateful for the opportunity to receive help at the most recent FAFSA day held by Starkville High.  

“Going into this year I had little to no idea what the FAFSA was, so I’m glad that Starkville High and Mississippi State could come together to make a day for me and my mom to sit down and fill it out with them, Roberts said. “They were very helpful and without help from the counselors and staff, I think I would have been lost in a maze of paperwork and tax questions.” 

In addition to hosting sessions for students to fill out FAFSA, SHS offers College and Career Readiness, a class to inform students about important forms and upcoming events to prepare them to be successful after high school. 

Dorothy Roberson, senior counselor, emphasizes the importance of submitting FAFSA applications.  

 “If you are planning on going to college you must complete these forms. I see so many students miss out on money they could have had by not filling out FAFSA and not applying for scholarships. If you are a senior, make sure you are taking advantage of the opportunities you have for financial aid, Roberson said. 

 Seniors should fill out FAFSA as soon as possible in order to meet all state and federal deadlines to ensure they receive the maximum amount of money possible.