Learn about Financial Aid: How the FAFSA Can Help You Pay for School

You’ve probably heard of the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. But you may not fully understand how completing your FAFSA can help you and your family pay for your education. Many students—85 percent, according to a 2021 LendingTree study—think the FAFSA only determines which student loans and parent loans qualify for, yet loans are only part of the FAFSA determination.

As you learn about financial aid, you’ll understand why the FAFSA is such an important part of paying for college.

Why You Should Complete the FAFSA

The FAFSA helps determine if you’re eligible for free aid, like grants—financial awards you don’t have to repay. Completing the FAFSA can also help you qualify for work-study jobs. These university-based jobs can provide a regular income while you’re in school to help offset the cost of your education. Azusa Pacific University offers numerous on-campus and work-study programs.

You might think you don’t need to complete a FAFSA because your family’s income is too high. But many places that award merit aid, or aid that’s based on your academic achievements, require you to submit a FAFSA. Plus, it’s a good idea to have a FAFSA on file in case your family’s financial situation changes.

How to Submit the FAFSA

Every year, the FAFSA opens for applications on October 1. It’s smart to apply as soon as possible since some grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

To complete and submit the FAFSA at studentaid.gov, you’ll need information about your family’s personal and financial situation, such as the number of people in your family who are attending college and the income you and your parents have earned.

The FAFSA asks for income and tax information from two years prior. For example, if you’re completing the 2021–22 FAFSA, you’ll need your tax records from 2019. The FAFSA can link to the Internal Revenue Service and pull financial information from your tax records if you grant permission.

You’ll probably want to set aside about an hour to complete your FAFSA. It can be helpful for you and a parent to complete the form together if you’re a dependent since you’ll both need to provide information.

How APU Can Work with You

APU can help you and your family learn about financial aid, complete the FAFSA, and connect with other financial resources that can help make an APU education attainable. Many options can help you and your family pay for college, including scholarships, grants, and loans. In fact, 100 percent of APU students receive financial aid, and APU aims to give all students the maximum amount of scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study jobs they qualify for.

At APU, you could receive:

  • Academic scholarships that range from $11,000 to full tuition per year, renewable for up to four years
  • Participatory scholarships for athletics, community service, leadership, music, theater, certain programs of study, or military service
  • Federal, state, and APU grants
  • Student and parent loans
  • Work-study employment

APU recognizes that enrolling in college represents a significant financial commitment, but by filling out the FAFSA and using support services at APU, the burden might be lightened. Are you ready to fill out your FAFSA? APU’s Undergraduate Enrollment Services Center offers more tips that can help.

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