College planning is a big undertaking that involves time and organization but pays off enormously in the end. A large part of college prep is planning to apply for federal financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). According to the National College Attainment Network (NCAN), millions of students who are eligible for aid fail to file the FAFSA each year, leaving “money on the table” that could be supporting their education and training after high school.

NerdWallet published an analysis in 2018 that found that of the U.S. high school graduating class of 2018, high school graduates who didn’t complete a federal financial aid application missed their opportunity for part of $2.6 billion in free money for college. According to the study, money went unclaimed by more than 600,000 members of the class of 2018 who were eligible for a federal Pell Grant but did not complete the FAFSA.

According to NCAN, students who could benefit from financial aid the most are less likely to apply. A 2017 paper commissioned by NCAN found that, in most states, high school seniors in higher-poverty school districts are less likely to complete the FAFSA than students in wealthier districts. For every 10-percentage-point increase in the proportion of children living in poverty, a school district’s FAFSA completion rate declines by about 3 percentage points. LEAP Tampa Bay knows the FAFSA process can be long and intimidating, so we’re here to help with easy to navigate links for students, counselors and parents to help make the FAFSA experience as seamless as possible. Review the links below for resources and information. Check back for updated links.

What is an FSA ID? Where do I get one?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yj1Pn-shze8

What if I forget my FSA ID? –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIwnEbOXSGg&sf129860352=1

Can my parents use the same FSA ID as me?

https://studentaid.gov/resources/prepare-for-college/parents

Where do I find the FAFSA application?

https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa

Step-by-step video on how to fill out the FAFSA:

What are some common FAFSA mistakes?

https://blog.ed.gov/2019/10/11-fafsa-mistakes/

Where can access the helpful new app?

https://www.getfafsahelp.org/cb/

Why should I fill out the FAFSA?

https://www.morningstar.com/articles/879809/why-you-should-fill-out-the-fafsa-even-if-you-think-its-a-waste-of-time

How long does it take to fill it out?

https://www.nitrocollege.com/fafsa-guide

For more help:

Federal Student Aid Information Center: 1-800-433-3243 

Email at studentaid@ed.gov.

Use the help or chat buttons embedded in the FAFSA

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