What’s a FAFSA and why is it important? | KCTCS

What’s a FAFSA and why is it important?

We in higher ed tend to throw around a lot of abbreviations, acronyms and jargon. One that’s been in the news lately is FAFSA. So, what is that and why should prospective college students care about it?

FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which means it’s what you have to fill out if you want scholarships, grants or loans. As the name says, it’s a federal form because the U.S. Department of Education oversees federal student aid. Programs such as Pell grants and federal student loans all begin with filling out the FAFSA.

Additionally, all higher ed institutions have numerous other scholarships and grants, but to receive most of them, the first step is filing a FAFSA. Yes, it’s time consuming and yes, it’s a pain. But it’s necessary if you want to receive financial aid.

FAFSA filings are down nationwide. There are several reasons for this, including recent high school graduates’ uncertainty about life after high school during COVID. But if you think you might attend college, even if you don’t know which one, file a FAFSA. Even if you think you don’t qualify for federal financial aid, file a FAFSA. The earlier you file, the more options you’ll have because some aid is first come, first served.

Some local scholarships are called “last dollar scholarships.” This mean they cover whatever is left after federal financial aid, KEES and any other aid you might receive. A good example of this is our Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship, which allows you to go to college tuition free…but you have to file a FAFSA first.

You can see how important it is to fill out your FAFSA, so please don’t wait. Get it done now so we can see you at one of our 16 colleges this fall. For more information, visit our website or FAFSA.gov

computer with FAFSA on screen