Why filling out the FAFSA benefits your financial aid

September 14, 2021

Whether you’re an enrolled student at William Peace University or you’re exploring your options for attending college in 2022, it’s never too early to start working on your tuition plans. In fact, the earlier you apply for financial aid and scholarships, the more likely you are to be awarded a package that could make the difference between affording your dream school or not.

The first step in helping you afford college tuition is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA. The FAFSA determines your eligibility for numerous types of financial aid, including grants, scholarships and low-interest federal student loans. It is also required to qualify for any type of financial aid at WPU, other than merit awards based on academic performance, and at many other institutions.

Do I have to fill out the FAFSA?

Some students may not think it’s worth the time to fill out the FAFSA, either because they think their family makes too much money or they won’t need the help in paying for college. But the FAFSA not only helps need-based students qualify for aid they will not have to pay back, it also helps others secure low-interest loans and outside scholarships they otherwise wouldn’t be able to find.

Take WPU alumnus Nathan Hamilton: he filled out the FAFSA every year and qualified for $24,000 in scholarships and grants to help pay for tuition as well as help with affordability for studying abroad. Other Pacers have used the FAFSA process to secure federal loans and work-study programs in order to make their university experience more affordable. 

Fill out the FAFSA every year

“It’s incredibly important that every student, regardless of their family’s income or status, fill out the FAFSA every year,” said Marissa Jones, WPU Senior Financial Aid Counselor and Work Study Supervisor. “With so much uncertainty in the world, students never know what their lives may hold in the future, or what their family’s financial status may be, so making sure they have all of the options to afford the amazing education that WPU offers is something we always recommend.”

According to estimates, over $2 billion is left on the table every year by students who don’t submit a FAFSA, including some 1 million grants that don’t have to be paid back.

How can I use Financial Aid?

Need more reasons to start filling it out today? Here are three:

  1. The FAFSA has been redesigned to only take 30 minutes-1 hour to complete it from start to finish. 
  2. To qualify for financial aid at WPU, you must complete a FAFSA every year.
  3. You can use financial aid to help you afford a unique university experience (small class sizes, downtown campus, internships, study abroad opportunities, etc.) that may have been out of reach otherwise. 

North Carolina Financial Aid Deadline

In North Carolina, the FAFSA is a first-come-first-serve program, meaning the earlier you submit your application, the better chance you have for receiving benefits. The form opens on October 1, and the deadline to apply for priority consideration is February 15. So what are you waiting for? Apply TODAY!

Step-by-Step Guides to the FAFSA

If you still have questions, here are some more resources to help:

  FAFSA 2020-2021 Fast Facts for all WPU Students
  A completed FAFSA is the only way to get non-merit-based financial aid at WPU. Enter WPU’s school code: 002953
  You must complete a new FAFSA every year to be eligible for the next year’s awards
  Most students qualify for some form of financial aid through the FAFSA program