It’s getting close to the end of the school year for high school seniors and current college students, which means that it’s time to apply for financial aid. And the sooner you apply, the better. Even if you don’t think you will qualify for any aid, it can’t hurt to apply because the application (called a FAFSA) is free. In fact, FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You can fill out the FAFSA online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. Be sure you are dealing with the actual .gov site, because there are other sites out there that sound similar but are fee-based. And they can’t do anything that you can’t do for free yourself using the government site.
The FAFSA is also how you can apply for a Pell Grant, which “provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain postbaccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education”. (In other words, money that does NOT have to be repaid, if you qualify.) Many states and schools use the FAFSA as their application for financial aid or scholarships as well.