The new 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is here and the deadline to fill it out is quickly approaching. The FAFSA application is completely free and takes most people anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to complete online. The application can provide students with access to work-study opportunities, tuition grants, and federal loans.
Each state sets its own deadline for when the FAFSA will be due and, according to The Federal Student Aid website, Alabama’s deadline for 2019-20 year was June 30. The website also explains the importance of getting the application turned in early, as some of the funds are on a “first come, first serve” basis.
In order to decide exactly how much money will be awarded to each student, the college or career school they choose to go to will use a process to determine how much they will need. First, they will look at the cost of attendance, then subtracts the student’s expected family contribution from that amount, which is based on information provided in the FAFSA. The number after the subtraction, is what is determined as the financial need of the student, and that is typically how much money will be awarded.
According to Melinda McCall, Director of Financial Aid at Spring Hill, the 2020-21 FAFSA application opened on October 1, 2019. “The FAFSA allows Spring Hill College to determine which sources of financial aid - institutional state and/or federal - each student is eligible,” said McCall. She explained the importance of returning students to renew their FAFSA every year as soon as possible by using the tax information from the year before. McCall explains that the earlier it is done, the easier it is to ensure that scholarships and financial aid are awarded correctly. Lastly, McCall emphasized the importance for students to keep up with their Spring Hill College emails, as that is where they will receive the important information needed to ensure all balances are correct.