Last updated on February 26th, 2021 at 05:10 pm
Disclosure: This post has been compensated by Inmar Intelligence and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #aimhigherNC #FAFSA
Growing up, college was not something I thought was in my future. It wasn’t because I didn’t have good grades, it was because I thought college was just way too expensive. I’m lucky to have had a high school guidance counselor who let me know a university education was possible. He helped me fill out my first FAFSA® — the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. (“Free” meaning there is no cost to apply to see what kind of aid you may qualify for.)
I loved college and can honestly say that it completely changed my life. A degree is so much more than a piece of paper or a way to qualify for a job. My college experience gave me a love of learning and a broader worldview that is still with me today. And, I only had the opportunity to attend my university because I received grants, a small amount of federal loans, and had a work-study job.
As a parent, I’ve had two sons attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and we’ve filled out the FAFSA® every year to see what kind of aid they might qualify for. In my college days, completing the FAFSA® was not something to look forward to–almost like filing your taxes. Today, it’s a pretty simple process, since the FAFSA® website can pull income information directly from the IRS to make everything quick and easy.
While my sons don’t qualify for as much aid as I did so many years ago, it is still important for all students and parents to complete the FAFSA®. Both of my sons did qualify for low-interest federal loans which were enough to put college in reach for both of them.
I’m thrilled that this aid exists so that those with the ability and desire to earn a degree aren’t held back simply because they can’t afford higher education. When we invest in our citizens, we’re creating a more educated workforce, creating jobs and businesses, reducing poverty, and moving our whole society forward.
myFutureNC, a North Carolina nonprofit organization made up of education, business, and government leaders, believes, as I do, that a better-educated North Carolina is vital to economic prosperity for all citizens. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA®, is the first step and a good indicator of whether a student will attend and complete their education beyond high school. Students who complete the FAFSA® are more likely to enroll in higher education, persist in their college coursework, and graduate with a high-quality credential or degree. myFutureNC works with partners across the state, including CFNC.org, that have a variety of tools and resources to guide students and parents as they complete the FAFSA® and answer any questions they might have.
Still Not Sure Why You Should Fill Out the FAFSA®?
● Don’t avoid enrolling in college and filing the FAFSA® because you’re afraid can’t afford college. And, don’t avoid filing the FAFSA® because you think your family makes too much money to qualify for aid. Most students who fill out the FAFSA® receive some kind of aid. There is over $150 billion in grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study funds from the federal government available, so don’t miss out.
● Waiting to fill out the FAFSA® means you could lose out on some types of financial aid. Some federal aid is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so the earlier you complete the application, the better.
● Don’t want to take out a loan? It’s still important to file the FAFSA®. There are also scholarships, grants, and work-study opportunities, and you need to fill out the FAFSA® to be eligible.
● Two-thirds of jobs require a high-quality credential or degree. Filling out the FAFSA® is the first step to getting your degree or certificate.
● College is important for so many reasons, including long-term financial gain, job stability, career satisfaction, and success outside of the workplace, and it all starts with the FAFSA®.
● If you want to learn more about the financial aid process, get a step-by-step guide to filling out the FAFSA®, or connect with financial aid experts, visit CFNC.org. They offer all of these resources and more!
Why do you, your child, or someone you love want to pursue higher education? Whatever your “why”, there’s a way, and it starts with the FAFSA®!