Class of 2019: Get FAFSA done fasta


FAFSA provides eligible students with financial aid for college.

Angel Rivera

The cost to attend college can evoke anxiety and nervousness in a senior, however, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may decrease some of the pressures a student feels.

“FAFSA helps students by possibly providing them with the financial assistance for their college tuition and housing,” Counselor Martina Torres said. “If a student receives money from the federal government, that means they have more time to focus on their education instead of trying to figure out how to work to pay off their debt.”

FAFSA allows the government to process the income of the applicant’s parents and their grade point average to determine if the student is eligible for any type of financial aid. A student is not guaranteed money through FAFSA but depending on their eligibility, they can receive gift aid, such as the Cal Grant, loans or a combination of both. Gift aids and grants will not have to be repaid by the student, however a loan an individual receives through FAFSA does have be paid back.

“FAFSA helped me a lot and gave me an opportunity,” senior Lisset Bayardo said. “Without FAFSA, I would not be able to attend college but with it, it is possible for my sister and I to go to college with a single parent’s income.”

The application for the 2018-2019 school year will open on Oct. 1 and for California, the uniform deadline to submit the FAFSA application to be considered for Cal Grant money is March 2. If a student does not apply before that deadline, they are no longer eligible for Cal Grant gift aid from the state of California. Without the potential aid that FAFSA provides, a student’s college tuition could be unnecessarily expensive in comparison to the tuition offered to a student who met the deadline for FAFSA.

While FAFSA gives aid to students in the form of Cal Grants and loans, it is also a document that is used to calculate what financial aid an individual will be offered from different colleges. The amount of aid given one year, either by the state or the specific school, is subject to change as the family’s income and student’s grade point average may fluctuate over time.

“It’s important to apply for FAFSA because even if you only qualify for loans or gift aid, it’s better to receive some money for school than to not get any money at all and not go to college,” Torres said.

Undocumented students are ineligible for FAFSA, but can still receive financial aid and scholarships through the  California Dream Act.