FAFSA form. And you can’t know how much financial aid you’ll get until you fill it out.

Myth 3: The FAFSA form is really hard to fill out. FACT: Most people can complete their first FAFSA form in less than an hour. If it’s a renewal or you’re an independent student who doesn’t need to provide parents’ information, it can take even less time. Online, you’re asked only the questions relevant to you. And if you’ve filed your taxes, you can transfer your tax return data into your FAFSA form automatically.

This one-hour estimate includes these steps:

• gathering the necessary documents • filling out and reviewing the application • reading the important information on the “Confirmation” page that appears after you sign and submit your FAFSA form

If you get stuck, help is available by chat, email and phone.

Myth 4: I’m not eligible for financial aid because of my ethnicity or age. FACT: Absolutely not. While schools have their own eligibility requirements, federal student aid eligibility requirements do not exclude based on ethnicity or age. The FAFSA form is free, and you can access more than federal student aid with it. Many states and schools use it to provide their student aid, too. Myth 5: The FAFSA form is only for federal student loans. FACT: Not at all. In fact, the FAFSA form is one of the most widely used tools to access student aid: one application for multiple types of funding. When you complete the FAFSA form, you’re automatically applying for everything from grants and scholarships to work-study funds and loans from federal, state, and school sources. States and schools can also determine scholarships and grants using your FAFSA information. And the funding can be substantial. Myth 6: The FAFSA form kicks off on January 1, and you have to submit it by June. FACT: Nope! You have more time than you think. The FAFSA form is usually available on October 1; however, due to the new changes in the form, the 2024-25 FAFSA will not become available until December 2023 (this should be a one-time exception to the October release). There are three FAFSA deadlines: federal, state, and school. But the sooner you submit your FAFSA form, the more likely you are to get aid. Many states and schools have limited funds.

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