As high school seniors start to hear back from prospective colleges, February has been designated Financial Aid Awareness Month as a reminder that students need to make filling out all of the necessary financial aid forms a top priority.

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) created Financial Aid Awareness Month to provide information and resources to potential applicants. Here is one thing that all students should know in the United States. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is needed in order to be eligible for more than $150 billion in grants, work-study funds, and federal student loans available to students pursuing higher education.

Throughout the month, NASFAA will utilize social media to reach out to students and their parents about the importance of financial aid and changes to the system Additionally, it will remind everyone to fill out the free application even if they don’t think they’ll qualify for any assistance. Those with any questions can take to Twitter, using the hashtag #FinAidFeb, to get a response from a NASFAA rep, as well as find additional info on its site.

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On February 14, NASFAA will host a Facebook Live Q&A session where a representative from the NASFAA policy team will discuss the importance of financial aid. And on February 24, NASFAA will host a Twitter chat on changes to the financial aid system.

“Financial Aid Awareness Month serves as an important reminder to complete the FAFSA, which is essentially a passport to billions of dollars in student aid, including grants, work-study funds, and federal student loans,” said Martha Holler, senior vice president, Sallie Mae.

Financial aid awareness month should stop at the federal student loan system however. It literally pays to know and understand other methods of financing for higher education. Notably, private student loans are an option for college students to pay for tuition, yet they are notorious for higher interest rates, meaning they’ll cost the borrower more in the long run. This is just one example, too. There are various different aspects of financial aid that deserve attention such as income-share agreements, student loan refinancingscholarship opportunities, and more.

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