FAFSA application opens October for seniors across the country


Emma Pecoraro

Senior Cece Cathcart browses FAFSA.gov to find additional support and resources.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opened Oct. 1 for current seniors. This is a federal government form that determines if students qualify for federal and need based aid. This includes grants, loans and work-study positions.

Completing this application is a multi-step process that requires in- depth information on the student as well as financial information pertaining to the student’s family.

College and Career counselor Adriene Nolan provides assistance and resources to students struggling to complete the FAFSA. Additional support is available to seniors in the college and career center.

“Students will need to know their social security number, birthday, correct spelling of their name and W-2’s if they worked in 2021 in order to create an account,” Nolan said.

Many students may feel overwhelmed at the thought of another application they have to complete. Having multiple applications due at the same time creates additional stress for students. Senior Cece Cathcart admits she does not know a lot about the process.

“I know the FAFSA gives you financial aid, but that’s about all I know,” Cathcart said.

Many applications for colleges and scholarships have hard deadlines. Luckily, the FAFSA has no technical deadline. Although it is better to complete it sooner rather than later.

“You should probably try to complete it by the winter. The map grant is a state grant that you can qualify for if your family is under a certain income. This grant has run out in the past,” Nolan said.

When students complete the FAFSA, they will need their parents social security numbers along with their tax and income information. Parents may feel hesitant about providing this required information.

“I understand their concerns but if your parents are alive and they are your guardians, then they have to give their information. Students can start with reasoning with their parents. If that does not work, I am always happy to get on the phone and talk to parents and guardians,” Nolan said.

Recently completing the FAFSA has become a graduation requirement for all public high school students in the state of Illinois including DGS.

“I believe this is because completing the FAFSA if you are a lower income family gets you access to grants and loans that help you pay for college,” Nolan said.

If students are unable to provide required information for the FAFSA because of citizenship status, they are able to complete the Illinois Alternative Application. This application is similar to the FAFSA except it does not require the student to have a social security number.