What is the FAFSA?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (known as the FAFSA) is a form that can be prepared annually by current and prospective college students (undergraduate and graduate) in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid.
Do I have to fill it out?
Yes and no! You are not required to, but I highly recommend that you do. At some schools, if you do not apply as a freshman, you cannot apply later. In addition, even if you have a high salary, you may still be eligible for something, depending on how many students you have in college, other children at home in addition to salary. Life is often uncertain, if you find yourself in a financial crisis, it would be better to have done it in advance.
Here is an excellent article with some very insightful information about the FAFSA and middle class Americans http://deltavalleycollegecounseling.tumblr.com/post/148109014923/the-fafsa-is-broken-middle-class-students-have
FAFSA has excellent videos on their site, walking you through each step of the process.
There are Four Main Sources of Financial Aid
Federal government (the largest source)
Colleges and universities
The FAFSA qualifies you for federal aid, but many state governments and colleges also use this application to award their own aid. The FAFSA is easy to do. Complete the form online at www.fafsa.gov or download paper forms there. You can even import your family’s tax information directly from the IRS website.
Once you have completed the FAFSA, you should apply for these types of aid:
Financial aid at the colleges you are applying to
Private scholarships you are eligible for
For more information about financial aid, see Financial Aid: FAQs
To learn more about filling out the FAFSA, read How to Complete the FAFSA.