EVERYONE who's getting ready to go to college or career school should fill out the FAFSA form. FAFSA stands for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid” and completing it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school. Completing and submitting the FAFSA form is free, and has been simplified in recent years. It can still be daunting, so Career Compass college & career coach Ashley LeSaicherre is sharing some of her favorite tips.

At the end of the school year, school counselors and high school seniors are finishing up last-minute details before graduation. Most Louisiana seniors have completed their FAFSA, but some haven’t - and time is running out! We have focused on the FAFSA topic before because it is THAT important!

We compiled 10 important things any Louisiana high school student (and their parents) MUST know about the FAFSA :

  1. Want to call yourself a high school graduate? Complete your FAFSA! The Louisiana Department of Education requires that seniors complete the FAFSA to earn a high school diploma.

  2. It is FREE to complete the FAFSA. It’s in the name (see above)! Head over to www.fafsa.gov to start!

  3. Career Compass developed a free app to help parents understand the FAFSA. Students and parents from certain districts can even chat with a Career Compass college & career coach, all through your mobile device. Available on the Apple App Store.

  4. Want to see if you are eligible for FREE money? Certain grants are only awarded to students who complete their FAFSA.

  5. Speaking of FREE money - you must complete the FAFSA to be eligible to receive the TOPS scholarship.

  6. It’s easy to find out the amount of financial aid for which you could be eligible. Just sign in to your FAFSA account and click “View Student Aid Report.”

  7. Money is allocated on a first come, first served basis, so hurry and complete the FAFSA before the money runs out!

  8. If you need to take out student loans, the FAFSA is how you begin the process.

  9. One way to work on a college campus is federal work study. If interested in this option, students must check “yes” to Work Study on the FAFSA.

  10. Overwhelmed? Here is a line-by-line guide that walks you through every field in the form.

The FAFSA is such an important step in your post-secondary education. One of the most common obstacles that high school seniors face when deciding which college to attend is finances. This year, Louisiana students have had record high FAFSA completion rates. Louisiana is in first place of all 50 states in year over year improvements, and we rank third place in FAFSA completion for this school year! Keep up the great work because it’s not over yet!

Did you know that Career Compass college & career coaches are trained on all things FAFSA? We work together with high schools to present FAFSA Nights and other events for seniors and parents. Please contact us to learn more about the school districts we partner with to provide this service.