QUESTION - Why bother to fill FAFSA out!? Our children don’t qualify because of my salary, but I have 6 children still at home. It seems like that should be taken into account in the calculations.
ANSWER - In my opinion, the FAFSA is an important part of the college preparation process that should be considered by all students. Some families question whether there is a benefit to completing the FAFSA, because of their high income, they believe that they will not qualify for need-based aid and so completing the form is just a waste of time.
The reality is the family income is just one of the components for determining aid eligibility. Other factors include family size, cost of living, number of family members in college, and age of oldest parent (for retirement protections). Because of these factors and depending upon the cost of education at a particular college, there are cases where families with income well into six figures or more have still been able to demonstrate financial need - making that private college in New England in the same ballpark as the local state college.
Even if the family does not qualify for the Pell grant – reserved for primarily for low income students – other forms of need based aid from the state, the institution, or private resources could be available and most of these sources use the financial information provided on the FAFSA.
Finally, if borrowing becomes necessary to qualify for any federal student loan – both need based and non-need based – the student must first complete the FAFSA.