Debunking the FAFSA’s Common Myths That Drive Students Away

To anyone going to or already at any college or community college:

It is summertime! It is the time of finding a job, going to summer school, or if you are like me, we took the summer off! What should you be doing during this time? One of the many things is to make sure you have filled out the FAFSA already! The earlier you fill it out, the more benefits are readily available to you. Now there are many common myths from students for their reason to NOT fill out a FAFSA, and I will do my best to debunk each of the myths to the best of my abilities:

1- “I live in a nice house and we are pretty well off, I do not think I would qualify for financial aid money.”

Your parents may have been well off, but with the recent economic crisis our country has been having, maybe one of your parents were laid off at work, and that would already probably qualify you for the FAFSA.

2- “I do not want to pay to apply for FAFSA, I might not even get any money anyway.”

There is a reason why FAFSA stands for “a Free Application for Federal Student Aid”. Because, it is all free! There are many one scam sites out there that require you to pay money to fill out your FAFSA, the most infamous of them is, which is a scam site! Be wary with any sort of financial aid websites that require you to pay money.

3- “You have to pay back all the money you received from FAFSA back after you are done with college.”

By applying for FAFSA, you could (most likely) get the following benefits:

* FREE Money (It depends on how much you qualify and also what school you are going to, my friend got about $4,000 per semester and she goes to Mt. Sac, which is a community college)

* FREE money for books ( around $250-500 a semester)

* the cost of all your classes going from whatever the current price is to FREE (At my school, Mt. Sac, the $22 cost per unit would be $0 for me :] )

* The price for a parking permit on your school halved (From $40 to $20 at Mt. Sac)

* eligibility for many Cal Grants and scholarships that only require you to FILL out the FAFSA, not necessarily having to qualify for it

The best part about financial aid from FAFSA is that you DON’T have to pay ANYTHING back! The only part of the FAFSA that you have to pay back is the loans, and that is not even part of the FAFSA. FAFSA only sends you information on loans if you check on the application that you are interested in them.

4- “It is already too late to apply, I wish someone told me about it earlier.”

The 2009-2010 School Year (July 1st, 2009 – June 30th, 2010)

To get financial aid money for this year you can already begin to fill out the FAFSA as early Janurary 2st, 2009 all the way until June 30th, 2010. That means you can apply for financial aid for the current school year throughout the entire school year! If you decide to fill out the FAFSA later in the year, they still mail you the money for the entire school semesters that you were at your school. It is still better to fill out your FAFSA early on as you get earlier access to the benefits FAFSA provides, and also priority for the State’s financial aid, which is totally different from the FAFSA, but the same free money nonetheless. If you want to see those deadlines, go to this link and scroll down to the bottom.

These are the myths that I can list on the top of my head, if you can think of another one please tell me so I can write back to you! Now that you have demythed the common myths of the FAFSA, hurry and go fill it out! In my next post, I will write about why you should go fill out a FAFSA application, but until then have a great summer! The FAFSA website is

About the Author: – Joshua Wu (currently attending Mt. Sac)

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