Do you have kids in high school, college or grad school? Have you filled out the FAFSA yet?

FAFSA is the government’s “Free Application for Federal Student Aid” ( It is a yearly application, and should be first filled out starting October 1 of their Senior year in high school, using parent and child assets as of when you file, and income from your prior year’s tax return.

Example: If your child is starting college in August 2023, you would fill out the FAFSA in the fall of 2022 using current (2022) assets, and 2021 income.

Why bother to fill it out if you know you won’t get federal aid?

  • Some colleges require it for consideration of merit scholarship awards
  • It is required if you want a direct subsidized or unsubsidized federal student loan
  • Even if you have a high income, you may actually qualify for aid at some of the elite private colleges that have a very high cost of attendance (COA) and guarantee to pay for any unmet financial need. [Note that those elite private colleges will also require you to fill out an additional application with more in-depth net worth questions. Make sure you do this before the college’s deadline to be considered for their aid]


  1. Angela Gross on November 29, 2022 at 7:13 AM

    Very informative and relevant for us! Thank you. I wasn’t aware of the Merit Scholarships requirement. Would it be okay not to fill our FAFSA until your child decides to apply to a school who offers Merit Scholarships? We did not fill it out at all for our current Sophomore at BU. We have a Junior in High School who may be eligible for Merit Scholarships. Thank you!

Leave a Comment