Despite your financial situation, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is a must-do for any soon-to-be college student. While the process may seem overwhelming, the reward is worth the effort. The FAFSA is your student's gateway to receiving financial aid for college in the form of grants and scholarships (money that doesn't need to be repaid) as well as loans (money that can be repaid with interest at a later date), and work-study opportunities (part-time work positions available at CFCC).
As of February 2021, only 32% of New Hanover County and 31% of Pender County high school seniors completed their FAFSA.
This means nearly 70% percent of local high school seniors could miss out on millions of dollars in federal funds to help them pay for college. As a father of two — a college student and a recent college graduate — and as CFCC president, I know first-hand how expensive college can be and how financial concerns often prevent students from enrolling in college or completing their studies. Please encourage your loved ones who are headed to college to complete the FAFSA so that if they need financial assistance for college, especially during these troubling times, they can complete this essential first step in making their education more affordable.
Rachel Cavenaugh, CFCC's director of financial aid — who, for over 20 years has been helping students finance college — noted a few things parents need to know about the FAFSA®.
Why Fill Out the FAFSA
Regardless of your income, your student's grades, or the type of higher education your student is pursuing, it's important to complete the FAFSA. Many parents mistakenly think they won't qualify for financial aid and miss out on billions in federal grants each year.
On When and Which FAFSA
The FAFSA cycle opens on October 1 each year. Note: While most federal aid for North Carolina is not awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, some grants are — like the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. So if you want to maximize your student's potential financial assistance, submit the FAFSA early!
A common question we receive in the financial aid office is, "which year's FAFSA should I complete?"
That depends on when you plan to enroll. See the table below:
|Plan to Enroll For||Correct FAFSA|
|Spring 2021 & Summer 2021||2020-2021 FAFSA|
|Fall 2021||2021-2022 FAFSA|
Jessica Maurer - Apr 15, 2021
Christina Haley O'Neal - Apr 15, 2021
Christina Haley O'Neal - Apr 16, 2021
Cece Nunn - Apr 16, 2021
Rob Kaiser - Apr 16, 2021
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