How to Apply for FAFSA getting a College Education for Free

FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. How many times have you heard your parents or co-workers ask you, “What does that even mean, anyway?”

People have different ways of communicating, from your close circle of friends (text messaging) to your parents or boss at work. We talk to people differently based on who they are and where we are.

Financial aid terms and their definitions:

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form that can be prepared annually by current and prospective college students (undergraduate and graduate) in the Federal student loans and Federal Work-Study programs.

Undergraduate: A term used to define any student obtaining an Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree or Technical Trade certificate. Basically, the first four years of school.

Graduate Student: Any student applying for a higher degree post-Bachelor’s, i.e. – a Master’s Degree or Doctorate.

Pell Grant: Started in 1965 and named after a Democratic senator from Rhode Island, the Pell is the starter money for any student’s financial aid package. This is considered a grant, which the sudent does not have to pay back. All other financial aid is added to this package. The amount of the Pell is determined by your SAR, FAFSA and EFC.

SAR or Student Aid Report: The summary from the responses on the FAFSA, this document is sent to the student for review and to the college. This information is used to determine the student’s amount of aid needed. The EFC can be found in this report.

EFC or Expected Family Contribution: The number associated with each student and found in their SAR, it determines how much aid a student needs and how much that student or family is expected to contribute to their education costs. The lower the EFC the higher the federal and college aid may be. The lowest is $0 and highest is $99,999.

The Federal Work Study Program: It is another grant where a student can recieve a job from the college and 75 percent of their wages are reimbursed by the Federal Government. This is an option on your FAFSA, and if you are interested in applying then check the ‘YES’ box and talk to your financial aid department for where their job listings on campus are located.


It is not meant to be confusing; the world you live in has its own language, right? Among your friends you speak a certain way, using slang terms. Texting is an entirely different language, too. We learn these languages in order to effectively communicate with one another. The government and education systems are no different; they have their own language, too.

Here are two videos that talk about how to complete the FAFSA. One is from a student who is a communications major at ASU. The second video is a financial aid advisor from Argosy University out of Salt Lake City. Both videos tell you the same thing – how to apply to FAFSA. However, there is a difference in their language.

Applying for Financial Aid

How Does Financial Aid Work?

Don’t worry if you don’t understand what someone is saying, the greatest weapon you have is your voice.

ASK questions; even if you don’t get the answer the first time the most important thing is to not give up. You deserve to go to school because you are amazing and deserve a better life. Help is available, and sometimes it’s as easy as opening your mouth and asking. Here is Scott Weingberg from College Planning Network to explain more: College Made Simple.

Remember, don’t give up! Check out the other pages to learn more about scholarships, terms and optimizing your finances for school and the future.

Try here. The FAFSA helps to determine your EFC or expected family contribution.


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