by Brittney Lee, Contributing Writer
UMF students have begun filing their FAFSAs in preparation for the 2021-2022 school year.
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) determines the amount of aid that a student receives for their schooling, and must be completed by March 1harley carter
, 2021. However students should complete it as soon as possible—if any issues arise or changes need to be made to their applications.
Second year student, Harley Carter, said in an email, “I have not started [my FAFSA]yet, but I plan to in the next week or so, as it is better to get it in early.”
If the FAFSA is not finished by the deadline, students may not receive financial aid. UMF junior, Ali-Banks Mitchell said via email “last year I applied late and I learned my lesson.”
Not filing on time can cause some unwanted issues for students in need of financial aid. “I couldn’t get a work study or a federal pell grant.” Banks said. “I lost out on about $7,000 dollars just from filing late.”
Thankfully an issue like this isn’t impossible to fix, Banks said “I had to appeal to get the aid I usually receive and even then I still owed more than I did last year.”
Students may also struggle to get financial information from one or both parents when filling out the FAFSA. Carter said via email “It is hard for me to file because there is a lot of back and forth with my mom about her financial information.”
“My parents are divorced so I have to include my step-father on the application along with my mother. This makes filing complicated because I am consistently tracking them both down for their financial information,” said Carter.
To help get the FAFSA done correctly and on time students can visit Merrill Center as well as speak with the Financial Literacy Peer Educators on campus, known as “FinLit”.
FinLit is a resource for students to use for advice on budgeting as well as assist students when filing their FAFSA. Mitchell said in an email “I went once when I was stressed about my bill my freshman year to see what I could do before going to Merrill.”
Students can visit studentaid.gov to start and submit their FAFSA. This website also contains contact information if there are any questions or concerns about filing. Students can also visit Merrill if they are struggling with their financial aid.