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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

FAFSA: First Step for Paying for Higher Education

By Antonio Alba-Meraz, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency

Do you know where you can get help paying for your children’s higher education? The first step to obtain financial assistance for post-secondary education is for you and your child to fill out and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. You should complete a FAFSA form whether your child plans to attend a four-year college or university, a two-year community or junior college, or an eligible career school — a technical, vocational, or trade school.

Completing the FAFSA form not only serves as an application for federal student aid, it also opens the door to obtaining financial assistance for higher education from other organizations, including states, colleges, career schools, and scholarship sponsors.

Many of these organizations use information provided on the FAFSA form to determine eligibility for their aid programs.

U.S. citizens and certain non-citizens should complete the FAFSA form because they are eligible for federal student aid in the form of grants, work-study funds, and loans. Eligible non-citizens include permanent residents with alien registration cards, also known as green cards. Undocumented students are not eligible for federal student aid. However, undocumented students in Minnesota may apply for state aid by submitting a Minnesota Dream Act application.

It’s easiest and quickest to complete the FAFSA form online. For more information, see Submitting the FAFSA: The First Step to Paying for Higher Education.

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