A Student's Guide to the FAFSA

Published by Concordia University, Nebraska 3 months ago on Wed, Nov 8, 2023 3:06 PM

The FAFSA: You know it, you love it, you fill it out before every academic year. 

Except you don't know anything about it, your mom filled it out for you, and you probably thought it was an international soccer league for an embarrassingly long amount of time. 

So what is the FAFSA, and why should you care? The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a form for current and prospective college students that determines their eligibility for federal aid. The form is fairly extensive, and considers multiple factors (e.g. your parents' income, your savings, the number of college students in your household, etc.), to determine what loans/grants you will be eligible for.  

The FAFSA opens on October 1st in the year before the academic year you are filing for and is due on June 30 of the following year (note: the 2024-2025 application is an exception and will open on December 1, 2023). 

Statistically speaking, you will probably go into some level of debt while you earn your degree. That can be scary to a lot of people and can sometimes deter them from pursuing the colleges or career paths that they are passionate about. Don't be scared of debt! College is an investment in yourself, and it can be a good one etc etc etc. In most situations, it would be preferable to only take out the federal loans. They typically have better interest rates and repayment terms than private loans and can also be subject to repayment freezes in the case of special circumstances (like a pandemic). 

Here’s how the whole process works: 

1. Go to fafsa.gov and create an FSA ID 

2.Collect your required documentation (this includes the social security numbers, tax information, and investment information of both you and your parents) 

3.Enter your information! (This will include your tax returns and parent’s income information, so make sure you have a way to access that info) 

4.File your FAFSA! (You’ll need to include Concordia’s School Code: 002541!) 

5. Ask the financial aid office any questions you may have (no question is a bad question!) 

So go ahead and fill out that FAFSA! It may seem daunting at the beginning, but it’ll be worth it if it means you’ll get that sweet, sweet financial aid money. You got this :) 

Navigating Financial Aid at Concordia? Start here.

This article was guest written by Aubrey Baumann. Aubrey is a senior business major at Concordia. She is on the dance team, she sings in the A Capella choir, and she is a shift manager at 10:31, Concordia's on campus coffee shop. In her free time, she enjoys crocheting, doing puzzles, and going for walks.