College Corner: The Importance of FAFSA


Cristele Moztarzadeh, Copy Editor

Many seniors have received the warning from Miami Palmetto Senior High School’s college counselor, Harry Nerenberg, to sign up for FAFSA as soon as possible after the Oct. 1 opening date. However, with every other task seniors must get done, they may not realize FAFSA’s significance. The FAFSA, short for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, remains an extremely important document, especially for students with a low income. 

The FAFSA is an application that many U.S. colleges require students to fill out annually. It aims to help many students improve their college experience and expand their opportunities financially. However, applying does not always guarantee heaps of financial aid, so students should still apply for scholarships and attempt to save money themselves. 

The application takes little time to complete, normally under an hour, and consists mainly of sections about a student and their family’s financial status and specific details. The information one needs to know may be found in their parents’ and their tax returns, the latter depending on if the student receives an income of their own in addition to their parents’. Other information which needs to be filled out includes basic information on the student, as well as 10 schools they feel interested in or have already applied to, so those schools may be alerted of their financial needs. 

This checklist tells one what they will need handy when applying; some things required include one’s Social Security Number, driver’s license and which particular tax forms they may need, depending on the person. 

The sooner a student files their application, the higher a chance they receive to get financial aid. Everyone may apply and automatically qualifies for low-interest federal aid. Applying is free, so do not worry about the costs of the application itself. 

The last day to apply for the 2020-2021 FAFSA remains June 30, 2020, but each state keeps their own specific deadline which students should keep in mind. One can find the deadline list on the following page: College applicants should be aware that some colleges have their own separate deadlines which may be found on the school’s website or even by contacting the school directly. 

According to College Board, students can apply for the FAFSA through any of these:

  1. (the main page for FAFSA)
  2. A student may purchase the myStudentAid app for free on iTunes and Google Play for on-the-go help. 
  3. A student may print out the FAFSA form, which may be found on the main page listed above and mailed to the address on the document. 

One’s best bet would be to apply online or through the app, because the application can process faster and the online form catches mistakes applicants tend to make.

FAFSA recommends students do not lie on their application, whether it be about their income or the amount of people in their household, and that they remain vigilant during the application process, as to not make any errors which may negatively affect their chances to receive aid. 

The FAFSA aims to allow easy access for all students and school faculty highly encourages that every college applicant completes it. 

If any student has any extra questions, they may refer to this link: The link includes questions asked by many. But, if any student has their own specific questions, at the bottom of the link, a separate note has FAFSA’s contact information. Palmetto’s counselors, and some teachers, also remain able to answer any necessary questions and help with any issues any Panther student may have.