Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as the FAFSA, should be the first step every student takes towards financing a degree.
Every year, the U.S. Department of Education gives over $120 billion in federal grants, loans and work-study funds to more than 13 million college students, making it the largest provider of student financial aid in the country. Federal grants do not need to be repaid, federal student loans have low interest rates and work-study programs can be a convenient way to simultaneously fund an education and build a resume
"Aid is available for anyone with a household income below $250,000 a year," says Charlie Javice, founder & CEO of Frank, an online FAFSA platform. "So it's really important as FAFSA season comes up that people don't forget that there is no such thing as being too rich to file FAFSA."
"To students who don't think that FAFSA applies to them, wake up and smell the coffee. You should do it," says Javice. "It takes four minutes. You are probably going to get $10,000 to $30,000 worth of aid in your first year."
By not completing the FAFSA, NerdWallet estimates that the class of 2017 missed out on $2.3 billion worth of free college aid.