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5 Things You Need to Know About the FAFSA

By Lily Garay, Organizational Leadership major at SEU

Senioritis.

Oh, it hit me hard during the spring of my last high school semester.

I had committed to Southeastern University and was ready to leave home. In the meantime, all I was trying to do was make music, drink my lemonade and relax. But in the background, my mom kept telling me that I absolutely needed to apply for scholarships or else I wouldn’t be able to afford school.

So, if I wanted to be off on my next life adventure, I would have to find a way to do so financially.

Scholarships at SEU

Turns out there are great scholarships available for about 98 percent of incoming freshman at Southeastern, and a portion of them could come from the information I provided when I filled out the FAFSA (a.k.a. the best 5 letters that were my ticket to paying for college).

What is the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is an acronym that stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It’s basically an application that determines your eligibility for federal and state and even some institutional (SEU-based) financial aid programs. It’ll provide Southeastern the information for the possibility of receiving scholarships, grants, work-study, and student loan opportunities.

It’s personally been a huge help for me as I was figuring out how to pay for school. If you’re like I was, and this is the first time you’re learning about all of this, I figured I’d share 5 things to know about the FAFSA.

  1. Ask for help (it’s ok).
    I’m not going to lie. When I first got on the FAFSA website, I low-key freaked out. It’s just seems like a lot of information the first time you have a go at it. However, my financial aid counselor at SEU was able to help get me started. Your SEU admission counselor is also a great resource, and the FAFSA website even has a helpline you can call for even more support!   
  2. Gather your information before you start.
    Before you begin the FAFSA form, you’ll first need to set up your own personal FSA ID and will need other personal and financial information, such as your social security number (SSN) and tax information (if you have any).
  3. Get your parent or guardian’s information, too.
    You’ll need to have your parents create their own FSA ID too, and have their personal information (SSN, etc) and their tax information. (If they want, some parents can even retrieve their tax data while completing the FAFSA directly from the IRS website!)
  4. Know SEU’s school code.
    Southeastern’s School Code is: 001521, which you’ll need to use on the FAFSA  so you can make sure your information gets to the Student Financial Services office at SEU.
  5. Have patience.
    It can be overwhelming, but make sure you aren’t doing it alone! Get help from your parent, guardian, SEU staff support, or school counselor.

After you complete and submit your FAFSA, it’ll take a few days for your school to review all of the information and determine how much you’ll qualify for in federal and state scholarships/grants.

While you wait, try to find other sources for scholarships. There are thousands out there, and even seemingly-small ones will add up. Take it from me —a current college student— anything helps.

Remember — you’ve got this!

Oh. And moms are always right.

Helpful Links

FAFSA Info

FAFSA FAQs

Financial Aid 101

Scholarships

Payment Plans

Financial Clearance

Note: The federal deadline to submit the FAFSA is June 30.